Welcome to The Seeds Storyteller Series: Difference-Making During the Corona Crisis in which I’ll be talking with Noeline Kirabo, who is joining us from Uganda to talk about her work building resilience, hope, and agility among marginalized youth in Uganda. Unstoppably compassionate and tenacious, she supports others as a life coach and as founder of of Kyusa, which fuels early start-up entrepreneurs in low income communities in urban slums, rural areas and refugee camps. Noeline’s capacity to love and serve those around her is incredibly inspirational and I believe you’ll find a bit of your own amazing story in hers.
In case you missed the livestream, check out the replay right here or head to your favorite social media platform: YouTube | IGTV | Facebook. While you’re there, subscribe to join the fun with us at Seeds of Exchange. Keep the convo goin’ in the comments below.
WHAT you can look forward to in this conversation:
– ARMCHAIR TRAVEL to Uganda, where Noeline lives and works. Learn how her community is doing and how they have been impacted by the Coronavirus.
– STORIES TO INSPIRE your unique ways to be generous and serve others each day.
Perform an act of kindness daily – purpose to be a giver and not a taker. Together we can create multiple ripple effects of generosity if we become intentional about it. It starts with each one of us choosing to be a blessing daily. -Noeline
– GLEAN WISDOM from Noeline about igniting your passion, deep joy and fulfillment, and your own ability to be unstoppable.
You never truly start living until you live from the inside out. And in unlocking potential, we need to look inward to identify what are the things that give us a deep sense of fulfillment, the things that give us the deepest joy, and then weave them into the patterns of our daily routines. In so doing, we cease to work and we start to live … and when passion becomes a career, you don’t just excel, you become unstoppable. -Noeline
– DIG DEEPER and learn about the importance and power of business development in impoverished places and among those who are living on the margins of security and survival. As founder of Kyusa, Noeline is committed to turning out-of-school youth into business leaders by giving them the tools they need to direct their passions.
Despite being a school dropout, I forged an education via libraries and free online courses, pursuing a dream to cultivate potential in others. Through education, I seek to inspire young entrepreneurs struggling against the violence and crime of the Kampala slums. -Noeline
– HOW TO FIND PEACE AMIDST STORMY DAYS – Noeline will share some of her daily practices to still the noise and cultivate peace.
I start my day with personal PRAYER time and Bible study which sets the tone for my day. I spend time not just talking to God but also listening for counsel and direction in regard to how I should walk through the day. There is power in quiet time/meditation/solitude and that is something I encourage people to adopt in their daily routines.
EXERCISE is another great way to calm your nerves and rejuvenate your energy. Making this part of your daily routine more so in time when many of us are bound to sit for hours is a great way to stay active.
Also at the end of each day, I like to JOURNAL so I take stock of my day so as to gather lessons and gratitudes for each day. Journaling is a great way to relax and connect with your thoughts amidst all the demanding deadlines around you. -Noeline
NUDGES for inspired ACTion:
1 – DONATE. With the lock down in Uganda, many of the youth Kyusa supports have been affected. Kyusa has found that more than 100 of their alumni are in dire need of micro grants to bounce back and become sustainable in their businesses after the lock-down is lifted. Learn more & donate – watch the video below or here.
On an average, Kyusa is looking to raise $50/ £40 per micro-grant per alumni. Considering they are daily income earners, they will again be able to provide for their families once they are able to begin their businesses. On average, their alumni each supports 2-3 beneficiaries (biological children, siblings or elderly parents), so their burden of responsibility is heavy. Their responsibilities involve feeding their families, paying school fees and providing welfare support to their parents. When you support one of these entrepreneurs, you have supported four people to improve their quality of life.
2 – VIRTUALLY VOLUNTEER! Kyusa‘s top needs right now: 1 – Fundraising support/global ambassadors who help spread the word and raise funds for their work, 2 – Expertise in developing communication tools during this season, and 3 – Support in strategic planning for their organization. Email Kyusa for more information about volunteering.
3 – WATCH Noeline’s spectacular 11-minute TED Talk, “2 questions to uncover your passion – and turn it into a career” – watch the video below or here.
4 – READ Noeline’s powerFULL book, Find Your Significance: Discover your true worth and live to your full potential. (It’s free on Kindle unlimited.)
5 – COMMIT TO YOUR OWN PLACES OF PAUSE (PoPs). Choose 1 thing to weave into your life from our storyteller’s practice that will create plentyFULL peace within you.
6 – CONNECT WITH, follow, and friend our team
- Noeline / Kyusa: Website | Facebook | Insta | YouTube
- Sarah / Seeds of Exchange: Website | Facebook | Insta | YouTube | 7 ways to join the fun so you can be inspired and ignited to make a difference locally and globally, together
MORE of Noeline’s perspective and story … enJOY!
Tell us a bit more about yourself, sister.
For the last six years, I have committed my life to empowering youth at the margins of society to become financially independent by turning their passions into profitable, scalable and sustainable businesses. We typically target out of school youth from low income communities whose possibilities of securing formal employment are very slim considering the high youth unemployment rate in Uganda.
I believe that work shouldn’t just be a means to livelihood but rather a form of self-expression. By empowering vulnerable youth to start thriving businesses, we not only set them up to become financially independent but also restore their sense of hope and dignity as a productive force in the community.
Due to Covid-19, many of the youth we empower have been affected in many ways. Some have run out of operational capital while others were at the verge of starving due to lack of money to feed their families. We were able to raise some money to provide food relief and now we are raising money to provide micro-grants to support vendor businesses to bounce back after the lock down so they can fend for their families. (Learn more and donate.)
What inspires you today?
It inspires me to know that what I do makes a difference for hundreds of lives of people I might never meet. Each youth we impact is a lineage, a clan, a tribe and a potential generation. That keeps me going even when I feel like giving up.
Given the current impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, how is your life (family, business, organization) being impacted?
As a result of the Covid lock down, some of our alumni have discovered new business opportunities and are making use of them to grow their businesses which is exciting. As an organisation we have been able to use this lock down situation to evaluate our organisational strategy and program design so as to enable us better serve our young people and this is setting us up for bigger impact after this season. We are excited about the new strategy.
The challenge is mainly financial both for us as an organisation and the youth we serve. As staff we have had to forgo our salaries because of diminishing budgets and many of our young people are struggling to fend for their families is something that breaks our hearts.
My workload has escalated as a result of the lock down, thus leading to fatigue and exhaustion. I am working overtime to stay on top of things and to ensure we adjust our sail to the changing market trends so as to stay relevant. But, amidst the fatigue, my spirit is alive and well.
What is 1 thing you’d like to TEACH/INFORM participants during our time together? How do you think this will encourage or inspire folks during their days of quarantine / “shelter in place” / Corona news?
I would like to raise awareness of the fact that even in the midst of this economic lockdown, therein lies profound opportunities if we begin to look closely. There is a grain of opportunity in every challenge and the same is true for this season.
Life is all about perspective – you can see the glass as half full or as half empty. Be optimistic, seek for the good in this season instead of dwelling on the bad. Ask God for wisdom to become a problem-solver and thus open doors of opportunities for yourself and others in this season. There is so much to gain from this setback because all things work together for our good.
Is spirituality an essential part of your life, your work? If so, share a bit about HOW your personal faith influences and/or empowers your everyday life.
I am a Christian and my faith is at the center of everything that I do. During this time, I have spent more time in God’s word and prayer seeking clarity and direction on all matters of life.
My faith anchors me when I feel overwhelmed and I have experienced God’s love, provision and grace in this season like I have not had in a while. I have experienced miracle provision, healing, protection and the list could go on. I have been preserved from the adverse effects of Covid-19 by the grace of God and that is all I can attribute my strength and drive to.
Do you have a favorite quote or poem you’d like to share with folks?
Psalm 23 is my daily affirmation. Herein lies my assurance for each day:
“God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.” –Psalm 23 / The Message Translation
ABOUT the Seeds Storyteller Series:
Difference-Making During the Corona Crisis | Stories of community, compassion, and creativity in the midst of everyday life, today. We share these stories about everyday difference-makers with you in the midst of the Corona pandemic so you can be informed, inspired, and ignited to care for yourself and others in the midst of these disrupted and challenging days. Get ready to find a bit more of your story as you listen to the stories of ARTivists (artist-activists), students, parents, elders, entrepreneurs, and activists!
xo, -Sarah Davison-Tracy ❤️