in loco fellows blog series #12: “A love in motion and a work in progress”
Everything we build ends up building us too, I feel that me being part of a social responsibility project to design and build an income generating facility centre for the youth of IDAL- Intellectual Disability and Autism Lesotho is showing love to others and a great platform for me to learn as a young Architect.
Starting from the beginning, my aspirations to study and practice architecture started at an early age in primary school after I won a second prize award of the Cashbuild Art at Heart primary school competition and ever since then, I knew I wanted to be nothing but an Architect.
Alongside that love of craft and passion, I felt I was destined for greatness in this field. However, life being life, with nothing guaranteed or served on a silver platter, studying was not a breeze as I had imagined. I thought I had the right formula for it and had things under control but things were tough. Despite all my difficulties, I managed to manoeuvre through it all and managed to acquire a degree in Interior Architecture from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology.
After graduating, the pressures of life continued to press on, it’s been tough and stressful out here on field. In the practical world, one would find that the government and the private sector cannot provide jobs for everyone and that causes a lot of havoc.
Being from an institution of Creative Technology, where I was taught from day 1 to create my own job, I started thinking of ways and strategies to escape poverty and I figured I could continue with freelancing as an Architect. It was something I was already doing while I was in school to make some extra income while I learn but projects would not come in as I wished, sometimes a month to 3 would pass by without a new client so I decided to use my time wisely when I still had it and started registering an Architecture and Construction firm (Far Beyond Imagination PTY LTD.)
This kept me busy but most projects would not be given to me because I was considered a rookie in this game so I had to scrape by and feed off the bottom of the chain. While in the process of proving myself and trying to win over clients one of my brothers sent me a poster of the rise in loco fellowship application and when I applied, I was fortunate enough be given an opportunity to be part of the 2019 design and onsite training fellowship programme.
The 2019 cohort entails 13 recent graduates from different tertiary institutions and different fields of study (Architecture, Civil Engineering, Construction management, Water and Environmental Engineering, Carpentry, Education and Agriculture) who were given a chance to design and build a facility centre for the youth of IDAL from inception to completion. The most amazing part of the project was that it was a participatory design process so we had to know our clients well. The project kicked—off and as time went by things got tough because of the challenges on site, pressure and distance travelling to and from site. However, I have been learning a lot, enhancing my design skills and also obtaining experience on-site and learning how to use different tools and machines. During the fellowship I had the chance to work in 3 different roles each for 2 months, Plant and Logistics Coordinator, Site Architect & Health and Safety Officer which have exposed me to different disciplines too.
Almost every Friday we have business trainings as a way to guide us into better future entrepreneurs, and to become job creators rather than job seekers. Not only have I learned technical but also soft skills that include public speaking, negotiating and many more.
Finally, there are a couple of projects that I also got a chance to work on during the fellowship apart from IDAL which have also contributed in developing my design and detailing skills. My experience with rise International has been a great journey and a great learning platform for me and I’m grateful for the opportunity.