Our Young Person of the month is Rokunda Lukoto from South Africa. Rokunda is a 22-year-old BSc Biochemistry and Microbiology graduate, from the University of Venda. He is currently studying for a PGCE SP and FET qualification with Stadio University to facilitate his growth in the education field. He is an accomplished entrepreneurial, marketing, advocacy, and community development professional with a proven track record of managing strategic initiatives and delivering exceptional results.
Read his amazing story below and be inspired.
Rokunda Lukoto has 4 years of experience in NPO/entrepreneurial work across the education and hospitality industries and scientific research initiatives. He has also demonstrated expertise in brand management, digital marketing, and community and service delivery. He is skilled in leading cross-functional teams and fostering collaborative environments to achieve organizational objectives and highly committed to continuous learning and staying abreast of emerging industry trends. Rokunda is currently completing a short course at the University of Johannesburg in Entrepreneurial development and having been part of the YALI-RLC education changemakers cohort (2022) with UNISA and participated in the London International Youth Science Forum for scientific research and reinforcements of collaborations (2022).
He is an education enthusiast that believes everyone should be afforded quality education and access to tools that can maximize one’s potential regardless of their environment and that which enables them. Rokunda has donated books to marginalized communities, hosted scientific events, travelled abroad to get this message across. He also mentors, tutors and coaches young girls and boys to be their best selves both in society and in their academics.
On How He Started
Rokunda started his social impact journey during the global Covid pandemic. Being at home and seeing how the students in his community could not afford access to the same privileges that students in the city or suburbs got during that period touched him deeply. Most of them were mostly computer or technology illiterate making it hard for them to quickly move into the digital space for them to continue with their schoolwork. They simply did not have enough resources to utilize while at home during that entire period and so he started campaigns and his NGO Bright Young Leaders Initiative were successful in ensuring that schools in these communities were somehow provided for. The lack of skills and resources as well as the attention from responsible parties in the education sector in these communities inspired his work along with the ability to one day say that he was part of the revolution in ensuring that quality education is achieved as stipulated by the UN’s SDGs.
On His Successes
Rokunda’s organization has received the Global Changemakers and Youth Time prize in Amsterdam which was a starting point for their campaigns and overall growth in South Africa. Since then, their success stories include those from the schools they have donated books to having had an increment in their results. His organization has also hosted three successful Science and Innovation Challenges that have seen 5 students travel to the UK on a sponsored scholarship by YOSA (a UK registered charity) to attend the LIYSF forum hosted every July. This has given them some level of international recognition. As an individual, he has been featured on YALI-RLC, Opportunity Desk community and the LIYSF community as a presenter as well. Rokunda however believes that there is still a lot of work to do however and that on its own is a success story.
On His Challenges and Future Plans
Rokunda says that a lot of things need funds to work out and it has been hard to run some of their programs due to the lack of funding. But applying for grants, donations and collaborative opportunities has helped them carry out some of their work and stay afloat. Managing people, running projects, and getting into new communities can be quite hard but persevering and selling yourself and your impact will help you get ahead.This is something that according to Rokunda has helped them form amazing relationships with their stakeholders.
On their future plans, Rokunda says that they honestly just want to concentrate on the science and innovation challenge more, get more prizes in the pipeline and hopefully make beneficial collaborations with industry/sector leaders to ensure that both our vision and missions are achieved. They are also planning to start a private company that investigates maximizing the skills that are in high demand in and out of the country to ensure that they are always relevant and bring opportunities to youth in these communities on a larger scale.
His Word of Advice For The Youth
Simply put, you need to love your work. If you don’t, it won’t make sense or yield any good results. Sometimes things are fast and successful whilst sometimes they are slow and nothing seems to be happening. You need not give up, you need to persevere and stay hopeful. There are many opportunities for growth out there, take them by force. you can do it!
Who will be the next OD Young Person of the Month?
You can be the next Opportunity Desk Young Person of the Month! All you have to do is get a friend to recommend your work or fill out the nomination form here. We want to use the platform to recognize and celebrate the efforts of amazing young people around the world. Oh! And you must be an active Opportunity Desk member, either as a fan, reader, or subscriber! Share!