Growing up as a child, I always heard about the word creativity but I never bothered to find out what it meant. This all changed when I joined the Leadership Education and Empowerment Program (LEEP) team.
LEEP sparked an interest in me from day one. The interviews conducted to select a few members to help run the program were so unique and phenomenal. I expected to sit one on one with the coordinator or be trapped in a room full of interviewers but all this did not happen as LEEP had and still has creative ways of doing things. We sat around in a circle, played some very interesting team building activities and had discussions about the activities. At first I was scared to air my views but the program coordinator (Mathew Vincent) made sure he created an environment where we would be free to comment and share our ideas. The day was so exciting and full of fun; I cannot recall a day where I had so much fun. When asked how the interviews went at home that evening during a family dinner, I explained with pleasure as I demonstrated some of the inspiring activities we had done that day.
Being a member of LEEP helped me in various ways. Initially, I did not appreciate the true potential of children but LEEP taught me to look at young people in a different way. Each week we would teach different themes and different activities to the students and these experiences helped bring me closer to them. It felt so amazing working with these young people every day. Working one on one with them helped me understand them even more as I developed a passion towards LEEP and the students.
LEEP also enabled me to interact with my LEEP co-workers on a very meaningful level. I learned so many things as we were from different countries and tribes and we were also of different ages. Like any other company or organisation, we would at times be faced with challenges but the most amazing thing I learned from the LEEP staff (including the program coordinator) was how tactful and creative we could become to solve these challenges. Conflicts never tore us apart – incredible as it seems, conflict helped us connect and re-connect.
LEEP created a very positive change in my life. My confidence was boosted as I worked and learned from my colleagues. LEEP helped cultivate some important personal and professional skills that had not yet been fully developed in me. In a way, LEEP aided in the way I perceive things, people and their ideas. LEEP taught me to speak my mind but at the same time taught me to be very considerate. I remember having my first ever Skype call, talking to Paul Winter and Jo-El Wadsworth, along with a former colleague of mine, Egenie Wilondja. We discussed lesson plans and activities and how we were going to lead the afterschool program that week. It was a very wonderful thing to be introduced to a different means of communication. I believe I have become a better leader since becoming a part of LEEP.
The Leadership Education and Empowerment Program truly has had an impact on me and I really loved being a part of the team. Now I have an unending list of values (including Creativity) that emanate from LEEP. I really appreciate and acknowledge that while some might feel shame for being a refugee, I no longer feel that way. Being a refugee in Dukwi created the opportunity to join LEEP, which has contributed to my growth and helped me to become a better leader.