Michael-Borfine Omoyo, a 23-year-old NYS officer attached to the Athi river unit – is a happy man.
After he leaves the National Youth Service (NYS) this December, he is enrolling for a state-funded course at an Institution in Nairobi where he will study for one more year.
To him, this marks a leap of incredible proportions towards his ultimate dream and aspiration of becoming a fashion designer and a stylist.
It is an aspiration he has carried in his heart since his earlier days at Pe-Hil High school in Migori County. Unfortunately after his KCSE examinations in November of 2015; he scored a C plain – a grade that isn’t sufficient enough to earn any Kenyan Student, let alone Michael; a direct slot in any of the thirty-seven Public Universities in the country.
Nonetheless, this wasn’t the end of the show, if anything, it was a mere obstacle. If he worked it right he would still be on track – the plan was to enroll in a tier two institution and work his way up until he became the best of the best fashion designers in this country.
But tragedy struck in January the following year – Michael lost his mum and only breadwinner to HIV. Her being there no more essentially meant that a young Micahel had to first shelf his ambition to take care of meeting basic survival needs.
“My dad was illiterate and poor, he probably didn’t see the value of education or even raising money to fund my studies, I really had to do something,” Michael-Borfine told Maudhui House.
In the months that followed, he moved to become a shoe hawker operating in the shanty Pombe Tayari Township of Mombasa, a two-year hustle that earned him peanuts.
Michael was now starring at becoming a homeless bum were it not for a lucky break he got in 2018. At a barbershop, he met Livingstone; a KDF officer called who turned out to be a distant relative from his mum’s side.
Uncle Livingstone may not have had the finances at the time to support Michael’s initial plan, but he could do something else.
Uncle Livingstone helped Michael enroll to the NYS where after a one year intense physical training period at its main base in Gilgil; Michael was among the servicemen posted to the Athi River Unit, and after a year of National Building activities, the federal government will cater for his studies at the Fashion and design institution he selected to join next year.
Referring to the Safaricom Blaze mentorship session on entrepreneurship that he had just attended at a neighboring NYS Yatta unit on November 9th, Michael who selected the Digital marketing and creatives’ coaching booth, said he intends to use the lessons learned to craft a marketing plan when he sets up his own fashion and design business.
“Ultimately I will start a fashion and design business and I will certainly require internet marketing skills” he added.
Joanna Kinuthia, a master digital marketer who was among the list of icons and industry mentors that BLAZE network brought in during the special NYS Yatta Unit summit, told Michael and hundreds of other NYS servicemen in attendance; that the key to winning customers and building an audience in the age of internet marketing was largely pegged on the consistency of content.
She explained that consistency of content would eventually reveal what customers really prefer, and this is an insight that marketers can capitalize on.
Like Michael, 22-year-old David Kingara – a hearing-impaired serviceman attached to the NYS Yatta unit told this writer through a sign a language interpreter that he intends to use those digital marketing tips to build something for himself after he leaves NYS.
Michael and David were among the close to five thousand servicemen who graced the BLAZE Summit – a first of its kind on NYS territory.
On his part, Mr. James Mmata, Director of Operations at the National Youth Service, recognized the crucial role that mentorship sessions played in setting up the youth for the future.
Since inception in 2016, BLAZE – a sub-brand of telco giant Safaricom, embarked on a mission to deliver a thriving youth populace by availing to them; valuable information, skills and networking opportunities in a variety of fields including creative arts, fashion, film and photography, music, agriculture, and sales.