EDUCATION IS… achieving your dreams
PATIENT BARAKA grew up in the DRC with his grandfather, a herbal doctor, and from the age of thirteen would help him manufacture organic medicines. Patient studied biology and chemistry at high school in the hope of following in his grandfather’s footsteps but – due to the political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo – was unable to complete his studies. In 2016 Patient was forced to flee to Uganda.
Two years later Patient rekindled his entrepreneurial dream and is now the founder of Botanic Repellent Company which manufactures mosquito repellent. Made out of organic essential oils such as lavender, citronella and olive oil, the repellent jelly protects people in Sub Saharan Africa from malaria, a disease which worst affects children under five and pregnant women. It is also long-lasting, a key factor in protecting the skin from – not only bites – but damage caused by the sun.
Patient is also a co-founder of Nafasi Transformation Hub, a social entrepreneurship innovation hub.
If you could write on your school report, what comments would you make?
Unfortunately I was not able to finish school, but if you were to ask me what I am passionate about at the moment I would say ‘life-coaching, training and providing mentoring opportunities for start-ups.’
What did you dream of becoming as a child and what obstacles got in your way?
Ever since I was a child I dreamed of becoming a doctor and a humanitarian but I did not get a chance to finish my formal education. But as a refugee in Uganda I was inspired to become an entrepreneur. I am now pursuing – and achieving – my life purpose.
Your projects respond to the immediate and practical needs of those living in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement – what motivates you to do this work and what lessons have you learnt?
Helping people achieve better health and well-being has always been my motivation. And I have learned that – even though I am a refugee – I can still achieve my dream as well as support my community.