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Nasriya Mbarak | Tanzania | A Leader's Dream!!

I am a student, youth activist, and social entrepreneur. The youngest director in a Non-Governmental Organization in Zanzibar, Tanzania. It all started with my passion of being a lawyer re: dealing with social works and humanitarian. With my background in science, my parents insisted that after high school I should pursue my diploma certificate in science studies but my ambitions were far from that. I instead ended up joining different local NGOs training and volunteering, a year after graduating from high school in 2015. I learned a lot about my community and appreciating all the opportunities and blessings I had. I had a different perspective of life outside my home. Things were different, I found out that there were a lot of people in need of what we take or took for granted. That was my WOW moment, all I could think of, is starting an NGO that will help the Government effort reaching out to community - grassroot.

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

One of my initial hurdle I encountered was – my new founded team was not ready to volunteer. Therefore, I ended up restructuring the team and invited a small team who were willingly to volunteer and work in the community. Back then I was juggling between school, registering my NGO aimed at supporting orphans and youths with special needs in Zanzibar acquiring education, health services and livelihood. However, to sustain the organization financially I had to start a small business on the side: buying and selling goods.

Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?

How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

Convincing my family was a bit of a challenge because it was not sustainable career wise. However, later they came around during my launching ceremony re: experiencing my desire to help my community in a positive way.

What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?

I love to read inspiring books and currently I am reading “I can, I must, I will” by the late Reginald Mengi. I believe he wrote it for people like me who are actually on a tough journey that could led to - giving up. One thing that keeps me moving forward is “allowing myself to be a beginner, no one starts off being excellent”.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?

I wish I had known that its OK to be different. We don’t live by comparing ourselves with other people’s struggles. Everyone have their own timing to be successful. Therefore, I wished I wasn’t too hard on myself in the beginning.

What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?

To upcoming entrepreneurs, I believe whatever you decide to get yourself involved in – be a leader not a boss! Goals are as unique as the community WE all serve. I had one thing in common like others do, I started with a leader’s dream. I was committed to something bigger than myself, therefore leading by example on how to my manage my time, my career, my down time, lifestyle etc is key.

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