More Uncommon Stories!

More Uncommon Stories!

Last week, after sharing Hannah’s uncommon story on LinkedIn, such a wonderful thing happened.

Another one of our 2022 graduates, Anesu, sent me a message to share her uncommon story. Hearing from our students / graduates and getting to share their stories is absolutely one of the best parts about this job! Here’s what Anesu wrote to me, which she agreed to let me share with you all!

Anesu's Uncommon Story

“I remember last year exactly around this time when my life routine was waking up, preparing my mom’s food pack for work, doing some chores and then sleeping the whole day.

I literally had NOTHING TO DO.

I have a problem with walking around so I spent my days either sleeping or playing with my 3 year old daughter.

I had tried running a business but I was short on capital so I decided to sell airtime which kept me going until one day I thought, “I am more than this.”

I just had to change my life but how I was going to, I didn’t know🤦!!!

I have an Uncle of mine who was Rukudzo Primary’s Chairman, so he told me that there’s an organization named Uncommon teaching people “computers” and he wanted me to apply. Honestly, I was mad at him at first and asked myself “why would I do computers when I’ve already done them in High school?”

I applied anyways since I had NOTHING TO DO, but I still felt like I was wasting my life’s time. I was turning 22 and my baby girl was turning 3, which meant I needed to fill my pockets somehow because in one year my baby was supposed to start going to school and I didn’t have any way of making money to support her.

A little light shone when I went for the interview at the Kambuzuma Innovation Hub. I was told all about Uncommon by Vanessa Kambasha… Uncommon didn’t “teach computers” but rather, they taught how to use computers to design, build & market things – and eventually, how to monetize those skills.

I couldn’t believe it. Imagine going back to school when you least expected it. Yes, I had to fill my pockets but here I got an opportunity free of charge and I didn’t even need transport fare as I live in Kambuzuma just 3 minutes from the Innovation Hub.

Yes, wow. I know because I said that too.

I had an opportunity to learn Website Design, Website Development and Digital Marketing in that one year. I am grateful to my Uncle who introduced me 😅 , it was hard explaining to him what Uncommon taught because technology is still not familiar to some people and parts of Zimbabwe so at the end of the day I just said we will be learning about computers hahaha.”

Anesu is currently working as a Digital Marketing in Harare and we couldn’t be more proud!

Help Our Students Learn How to Monetize Their Tech Skills

For the last 4 weeks, we have been piloting a partnership with Tofara Online, a Digital Marketing and Innovation Consulting Trust founded by one of our program Mentors, Tofara Chokera.

Eleven of our Uncommon students/instructors received 8hrs of group training and 2hrs of one on one mentorship where they learned how to earn money with the digital skills they’ve gained through our Bootcamps. In a depressed job market like Zimbabwe’s – unfortunately acquiring tech skills alone doesn’t necessarily guarantee employment, so teaching our students how to be entrepreneurs and monetize their skills is crucial.

Through our partnership, we were able to provide our beneficiaries with this awesome opportunity for just $25 per person. Today, we’re launching a campaign to raise $3,000 to allow all of our Uncommon students and staff members to get this training. If you’d like to help us reach our goal, please consider donating below.

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Nedbank Innovation Hub Students Complete Their Internships in Bulawayo

Nedbank Innovation Hub Students Complete Their Internships in Bulawayo

Bulawayo Students Jumping

Expanding into Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, brought many challenges and opportunities for our team. With the support of Nedbank Zimbabwe (our Innovation Hub sponsor), Zara’s Center (our amazing host), and after a year of hard work, we’re excited to begin seeing our investment into the city pay off through the completion of our recent internship program, where students stepped away from the Hub to join various companies for one month, in-person internships.

Throughout the year, our students in Bulawayo – some, first time computer users – have been studying User Interface / User Experience Design, Front End Web Development and WordPress, and Digital Marketing & SEO. Getting the chance to intern and put their skills to the test alongside professionals in live working environments has been extremely valuable for our students.

Here’s what one of our students, Gracious, had to say about her time interning as a Digital Marketer.

“As an intern, I found myself surrounded by mentors who were dedicated to helping me succeed. After spending time in the work space, being exposed to a variety of skill sets made me realize how every sector is interconnected and how important being versatile is…I am more confident than ever before and I will recommend Uncommon and the internship program to my peers. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience!”

Image of Uncommon Student

Likewise, the companies that hosted our students got a lot out of the experience as well. Here’s what Mpi Ndebele from InnoTech Africa had to say.

“The students are able to understand what the client is thinking. They didn’t need to hold their hand, they brought fresh ideas and a new perspective on things. They had confidence and weren’t afraid to voice their opinions or ask questions, and they were willing to learn new things.”

Now that the internships are over, we have welcomed the students back to the Hub for their final module where they will focus on Job Prep as well as polishing up the areas that their employers identified needed improving. After that, we will support the graduates in their job search, though we have a feeling that many have already found a home after their internships!

Huge congratulations are in order for Beyond Bechani, Racheal Bulombe and Anesu Ndoro, who relocated from Harare to Bulawayo to launch our work there, as well as to the various team members who spent time visiting and working in Bulawayo over the past 12 months.

Check Out the Latest Website Built By Uncommon

Check Out the Latest Website Built By Uncommon

When clients choose to hire, not only are they getting a great product at a great price, 100% of the funds we earn are used to further our education mission.

We were recently approached by Taylor’s Africa, a Zimbabwean based safari company that had previously hired us for web development work. Their business had grown substantially over the past few years, and they felt that it was time for a design refresh.

Beyond Bechani (Designer) and Milliscent Rufasha (Developer) took the lead on this project and were really able to capture the clean, simple design that the client was looking for.

Not only is the client very pleased with the project, they’ve told us to be on the lookout for a contact of theirs from the UK that wants to hire our team for their next project.

We believe there’s a huge opportunity for and our “impact as a differentiator” business model. We’re really excited to continue improving this business and someday turning it into a major revenue stream for our nonprofit.

If you’d like to see a few more of our recent projects, please check out our Portfolio page.

A Little Bit of Joy For Your Day

A Little Bit of Joy For Your Day

Get ready to feel inspired by Perpetualjoy’s uncommon story.

After graduating from University, Joy found herself like so many of her Zimbabwean peers, unemployed.

In a country that once again claims the world’s highest inflation rate, and where unofficial unemployment rates in our communities are ~80%, investments in university degrees don’t translate to the higher qualities of life that they once had.

While Joy was participating in our program, she married and gave birth to her first child. Taking maternity leave left her behind her peers and we decided that when she returned, we’d train her in a new track – Project Management.

We matched Joy with Mentors from New York City and Australia and she joined our business team, learning how to manage website development projects for our international clients.

Recently, Joy accepted a job offer earning nearly 5x the average Zimbabwean income. We couldn’t be more proud of Joy and the role we’ve been able to play in her uncommon journey.