in loco fellows blog series #3: Success comes from good networking and a lot of experience

In this day and age in our country of Lesotho in order to succeed in any profession you’ve got to have connections and experience, a college diploma/degree alone does not guarantee success.

I got introduced to rise back in 2017 when one of my lecturers at my former school insisted that I should attend a lecture by rise founders and that I would get to learn a lot from the lecture. Without disappointment I did get to learn a lot; about the projects rise has done in Southern Africa that tackled major issues in less privileged communities and about sustainable building using locally sourced materials. This captured my interest in rise and I started following them and attending some of their lectures and film screenings to acquire more knowledge that I could have not get from school.

This is me, Jeff (Mojalefa Hatane)

Fast forward to June 2019 I’m an unemployed graduate and struggling with my freelancing business of Architecture and Graphic Design, with a few clients under my belt. Two friends of mine told me about the in loco 2019 program and that I should apply for it as it would be a great learning experience for me where I would acquire entrepreneurial, design and construction skills. I did not hesitate and I applied for the program since I had already known about the in loco program from the previous year

My prayers were answered and I had been accepted into the program. Now into the program, the project we are currently working on is the IDAL (Intellectual Disability and Autism Lesotho) centre, first off we had to design it but in order to do that we had to understand our clients (people with intellectual disabilities and their families) and their needs. We conducted a Participatory Design Workshop (PDW), which helped us to better understand our clients and their problems, and came up with solutions together. The PDW was a new concept to me but with guidance from the rise members I quickly learned it and I would say it’s a very useful tool to have as a designer.

Jeff casting the foundations with other fellows

A few weeks into the program now on construction site I’m gaining a lot of construction experience from concrete mixing to working with timber, learning from the challenges we encounter, developing my skills through my fellow in loco fellows and the rise team and creating networks. Half of the program is the business enterprise where we are taught to be job creators rather than job seekers and I would say it’s coming along fine, I’m still open to learning more and challenging myself.

A lot of challenges have presented themselves but through hard work and dedication from me and the rest of the fellows we have yielded goods results and I can say I am proud to be part of the cohort.

Jeff, proudly standing in the centre of the IDAL Centre currenty under construction
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