Accountant | Finance & International Development Enthusiast
SDG 1 & 8 Supporter | Philanthropist
My name is Farhat Sheikh, and I am a 24-year-old native of Mombasa, Kenya. I graduated from the University of Nairobi with a 2:1 Bachelor of Commerce degree, specializing in finance. Currently, I am working as an accountant in the FMCG industry with a leading distributor company. Additionally, I am the founder and CEO of the 20 Bob Movement Charity Organization, which was established in 2019.
During my university years, as I walked to and from campus, I observed several beggars and underprivileged individuals on the streets who were asking for coins to buy food and water. Unfortunately, people seemed to ignore them, fearing they might be scammers. Additionally, I witnessed many young graduates and high school leavers who were unemployed, as well as single mothers who were struggling to make ends meet. These situations deeply affected me, especially since I was studying business studies and finance, which I believed could be the engine for a better economy.
I started asking myself why a child in China could make a toy that would be sold worldwide, but a young person in Kenya could not do the same or even more and earn a decent living. After researching, I realized that one of the main reasons was a lack of business capital. To address these challenges, I decided to establish an organization where people could donate funds that would be used to assist the deserving individuals and provide young people and women with adequate capital to start businesses that could help eradicate poverty. This was how the idea of the 20 Bob Movement Charity Organization came about. Our organization encourages people to donate at least Ksh 20 daily or Ksh 600 monthly to help support our cause. We also use the money that remains at the end of the day as a means of raising additional funds for our initiatives. Through our organization, we aim to create positive change and uplift the lives of the underprivileged in our society.
What were some of the most significant challenges you faced initially, and how did you overcome them?
One of the most significant lessons I've learned is that challenges make us stronger. In our organization, we faced several hurdles, including the difficulty of convincing people to register as members, subscribe, and consistently maintain their donations. Initially, the idea of saving for the needy and donating to the organization was new to many people, but we were able to attract a good number of subscribers by undertaking successful projects.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic posed a significant challenge to us as donations drastically reduced, and registered donors stopped contributing, leaving us with almost no money to carry out projects. Overcoming this financial crisis required a creative solution, and we decided to invest in an autorickshaw, which provides us with an additional income to supplement other donations coming in.
Moreover, we recently launched the Business Network Capital Award Conference, which has attracted many subscribers willing to join our organization and contribute more funds to support our projects. Despite these challenges, we remain committed to our cause, and we believe that through persistence and hard work, we can continue to make a positive impact on the lives of those who need our help.
What advice would you offer to young people who are just starting their careers or pursuing their passions, both locally and internationally?
To achieve your dreams, it's essential to have a tunnel vision, focus on your goals, and put in the necessary effort. Once you have a clear direction of where you want to go and what you want to achieve, it becomes easier to navigate the path towards success. However, it's important to remember that you can only do so much, and it's essential to trust in a higher power to guide you towards your destination.
Therefore, strive to do your best and leave the rest to God. Stay committed to your goals, even if the path to get there may change, never lose sight of your destination. With persistence and hard work, you will eventually achieve your dreams. So, stay focused, work hard, and trust in the divine guidance of the universe.
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