Aaron first started to realize the impact he can have on others during his high school years. In 2004, he volunteered for a NGO located in a rural district in Uganda. This experience “stirred” him, gaining confidence, self-esteem and an unforgettable life experience. Upon commencing university, Aaron felt it natural to continue his outreach work within the community, fighting HIV/AIDS by promoting awareness of the disease and education on practical options to deflect the chances of the disease being passed on needlessly.
In August 2006, while volunteering for an NGO, Aaron Timothy met a woman who motivated him to look into becoming a social entrepreneur. Participating in an intern position at her company, Aaron gained further knowledge which would prove to be an asset later in his career.
Aaron was introduced to the E-ducation Without Borders Conference in 2007, applied and got though. This experience was an incredible step forward for Aaron.
“Attending this conference was a big eye opener. It was my first time to be out of Africa and to meet to many humble and like-minded people, with a desire to change the world the right side up. I connected with many people, and I started to think and act in a way to change my world the right side up.”
After attending the EWB 2007 Conference, Aaron started to understand and master the concepts of social entrepreneurship. He was fortunate to meet like-minded individuals and from that point forward he has been managing www.enjuba.com.
“I have now moved on to think and create social enterprises, because to me it is useless to start enterprises that will not benefit the bigger community. If we do not take control of our future, it will keep us in the dependence cycle, I want everyone to live a better life. So I create enterprises that help to empower others to be better off.”
Aaron recently received recognition for his work with www.enjuba.com at the Global Knowledge Conference, December 2007 in Malaysia. Winners of the Global Youth Social Entrepreneurship award are chosen from a select few, who have demonstrated their abilities to shine within the industry of social entrepreneurship.
Some of the wonderful projects Aaron is working on are addressing the issues of youth empowerment, savings and investment. Enjuba creates projects which empower young people, allowing them to become leaders and potentially social entrepreneurs within their own right. One of the founding beliefs in this organization is that individual youth have the ability to empower one another. Through the 'multiplier effect' theory, or young peoples’ ability to influence one another towards empowerment in a multiplying fashion, Enjuba hopes to realize the goals of their mission throughout the African region from within Africa.
Enjuba chose social entrepreneurship and leadership as the main focus of empowerment because it is a multi-faceted resolution to some of the major issues within, not only Uganda, but the entire African region. Creating new employment opportunities through independent entrepreneurship addresses issues such as unemployment, economic instability and inactive sharing of knowledge.
“Africa needs its own solutions and we think and believe that if a bigger group of young Africans are trained and empowered to start social enterprises, then they will be very able to help others to do the same and people will start to live a better life. Africa is the richest continent in terms of resources and yet the poorest. With this we believe we can change things.”
Aaron expands to say that, “there is also no program whatsoever to groom leaders with integrity, with values, and who want to act for the good of the country. We want to create that pool of leaders and groom the next generation leaders of Africa.”
Some of the incredible initiatives brought to potential entrepreneurs working with Enjuba include, “a team of artisans who create products and we also work towards empowering them. We created a program that enables each one of them to save 17% of the money they earn and are not allowed to withdraw it in 3 months, and only once. We encourage them to save and so they are able to have this money for future programs. We also help them to invest and grow their businesses by giving the capital to produce at full scale.”
Other achievements include conducting four months of training for secondary school students who are interested in being self employed, working towards social change. Through these training sessions, students expand their knowledge of business, planning and leadership skills; all of which are extremely important life skills and nurtured during their last year of school. This enables them to have an aligned thinking and focus towards following their dreams upon completion of their high school studies.
“We have also been able to encourage our artisans to save money, Most of them used to work to get money for a daily meal, but now they work for the future, and for better lives, they can take their children to school and pay for medical bills and have food on the table everyday. We have also been able to invest in them to scale up their businesses, even buying them vital tools that they need for their kind of work.”
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I have been fortunate to have experienced a variety of excellent opportunities such as, working at EMI Music Canada, a recording studio, djing in night clubs in Toronto and Tokyo and participating in photography festivals in Tokyo; but, nothing has been as rewarding as working with youth.
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