From Intern to Permanent Employee: Lucy’s Story of Resilience

Dec 14, 2023 | Stories

We’re Committed to Fostering Sustainable Connections

We pride ourselves on fostering sustainable job connections for recent Siha Leadership School graduates in Tanzania’s Siha District. Those connections paid off for Lucy Urassa.

Lucy giving the peace signWe partner with Ubora Tanzania, a US-based non-profit organization focused on helping the residents of Tanzania’s Siha District achieve long-term sustainability and Economic Development. Ubora’s Siha Leadership School (SLS) is consistently rated as one of the top ten education programs in Tanzania.

But SLS had a growing problem– without business connections, its well-educated graduates were still struggling to find jobs.

As Lucy put it, “After I graduated from university, it was difficult for me to get a job since I was a fresh graduate; I had no connections.”

In response to the unemployment problem for its graduates, two Ubora businessmen contacted our founder, Alf Rhea, asking him to help them start integrating the local business community with SLS graduates. Alf agreed, and that was the beginning of Business Innovations’ work to help young professionals like Lucy become working members of their community.

“In the SLS Graduate Program, mentors take a hands-on approach that gets results and makes a huge difference.”

Getting to Know Lucy

In the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro is a small village called Karansi, where Lucy Urassa was born. Lucy’s family was left in poverty after the death of her father. They lost everything.

Recognizing that Lucy’s education prospects were bleak without an income, her mother sought help from the local village pastor. The pastor and congregation rallied around Lucy’s family, actively advocating for them and helping provide for their basic needs and rebuild their lives. Lucy’s mother is now a businesswoman in her own right, and her younger sister attends university.

Getting Lucy to Class

Lucy was meant to enter school at Marangu Hills Academy the year her father was killed. Left without a source of income, it took a year before her mother could afford to continue Lucy’s education. Thanks to a sponsorship through the Siha Leadership School, Lucy resumed her studies. Through hard work and diligent study, Lucy worked her way through school and eventually graduated in 2022 from the National Institute of

Transport in Dar es Salaam with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and transport finance.

Alf Meets Lucy

Alf meets LucyAfter graduating from college, Lucy was looking for a path into the workforce when she learned about the internship program we sponsor through Ubora- the Siha Leadership Premium Intern Program (SLPIP). On October 6th, 2022, Lucy was offered an internship in the accounting department in a factory in the city of Morogoro.

Our founder, Alf Rhea, regularly visits Tanzania as a mentor with the SLPIP. As Lucy’s business mentor, he stays in regular contact with her and the other grads to assist with their professional development. In the SLPIP, business mentors take a hands-on approach that gets results and makes a huge difference. In Lucy’s own words, “I started my internship at Morogoro, and that was when I met Alf Rhea as my mentor. I really thank God for him, his family, and his business as well because he has been a blessing to me and other program graduates.”

Lucy Becomes a Permanent Employee

The SLPIP does not guarantee employment following an internship. But with the mentorship and support she received and her resiliency and hard work, Lucy not only made it through her internship with flying colors, but she also earned a full-time job at the factory. She says it wasn’t easy, though: “During my time as an intern, it was at first difficult to cope with the environment and work issues since it was my first time in the work field, but I thank God I managed, and I was employed in a full-time job in October 2023 as an accounting clerk.”

“During my time as an intern, it was at first difficult […] but I thank God I managed, and I was employed in a full-time job.”

Finding Her Tomorrow

During his latest visit to Tanzania, Lucy pulled Alf aside and asked him for career advice. She wanted to know if continuing her education would make her a better employee for her factory. They discussed options for courses she could take that would benefit her in her workplace and wouldn’t interfere with her work.

Lucy working in office“She was asking my advice. She never asked for money, but instead asked if this is something she should do and if she should do it now since she had no professional parents to guide her.”

Other Business Innovations employees are helping mentor Lucy as well. Since Lucy works in accounting, our controller, Nan, is helping her learn advanced Excel spreadsheet techniques. Nan is also teaching Lucy how to create and manage her personal budget since this is Lucy’s first full-time, paying job.

Our clients play a vital role in helping us provide this level of sponsorship to these deserving individuals. This is part of your story as much as it is ours. Thank you.

We’re excited to get to watch Lucy grow and excel. She inspires us daily with the way she overcomes adversity and persistently puts forth her best effort. It’s stories like Lucy’s that make us proud to provide support to Tanzanians striving toward a better tomorrow. You go, Lucy!