Voices of Youth Inspire! "The small thing you despise might be the foundation to your big break."
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Voices of Youth's Inspire Portrait was sourced from one of our very own users, Muyu. She took the time to interview someone inspiring and now we are sharing with you!
Your name: Newton Ochieng Oduor
Your age: 22
Where are you originally from and where do you currently live?
I was born in the serene capital city of Kenya, Nairobi. In all my 22 years on earth to date, Nyayo Highrise (Kibera) has and will always be my home sweet home.
According to your business card – what’s your job title?
I am in the artistic career of designing both ladies and men’s sandals and footwear. In short, I am a business man.
And how does that compare with what you wanted to do when you were 10 years old?
Wow! That question takes me back to my young and playful childhood. If there is one thing I often ruminate about is my childhood memories. When I was 10 years old, I wanted to pursue aeronautical engineering. A shiver would run with little electric feet all over my body whenever I thought and fantasized about seeing myself as an Aeronautical engineer. Well… unfortunately or fortunately, the tough circumstances that life offered, forced me to burry my treasured dream and kick off my own business.
Give us 10 words that describe your typical work day?
Early, stylish, sweat, satisfying, pressure, fun, tough, rubber,
In a nutshell, how did you get to where you are right now? Name some of the most important milestones.
My ambition of pursuing Aeronautical engineering led me to joining Kenya Aeronautical College. I joined this college knowing that the job market would be less chaotic unlike other careers. However, all was in vain. Apart from the job market, lack of fees was my major milestone. Acquiring a job under the aeronautical field in Kenya proved to be far from possible. That’s when a wave of reality surged through me and I realized I had to do something quickly. My good friend, Taddy, encouraged me to work with him in a movie shop. After that, I ventured into selling juice and finally landed on making and designing footwear. I ran this business with Taddy.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome to get to your current position and how did it help you to grow as a person?
The biggest obstacle was confidence. As a young man living in a community that has watched me grow, the thought of selling sandals in the spotlight of my home area, made me freeze like a paralyzed rabbit in the glare of headlights. Before I embarked on my current job, a string of endless questions would occupy my mind regarding how people would judge me as I sold my sandals. However, time was not on my side and I ignored those discouraging thoughts and ventured into my current position.
How important was your choice of degree/field of study at university for what you’re doing now?
Sadly my field of study at the university is not playing any role
in what I am doing now.
What are the top three things someone needs to excel in your field?
Hard work, patience and knowledge of saving money.
What do you think is the MOST important thing governments and/or companies can do to help young people get started in their careers?
There are several things that a government or company can do for
the youth. However, the one thing that I can prove to young
people is that the government is willing to support the genesis
of their careers is by initiating special projects that will
generate income, support and sustain youth as well as their
careers. They should lock out petty things and place themselves
in the shoes of struggling youth by providing them with that warm
opportunity of being somebody in the near future.
On a lighter note, tell us about the strangest day you’ve ever had at work or the strangest thing you had to do?
My strangest day was the very first day of work. Within two hours, I sold four sandals. I swelled with pride as contentment seeped through me.
Some words to youth out there: What advice can you give them when chasing their dream position?
Don’t wait for something to happen or somebody to kick off a small hustle for you. If you keep waiting, I’m afraid you shall wait forever. Instead, indulge into that small thing you might despise. Deep down inside you know that the small thing you despise might be the foundation to your big break. Once you are in it, humble yourself, be patient, persistent, honest in the context of your work and most importantly, put God first.