ELITE Senegal 2018

The last week of July I attended and assisted during ELITE Senegal 2018, a program organized by Fadieye who has her own fashion brand called KABIO. Today, I want to share this great experience with you, mostly because it has had such a great (positive) impact on me. Also, I just think it is important to share this experience with you. I think that events are a great way to find inspiration, to network and foremost: to learn and share experiences. I definitely love sharing experiences, so follow this event through my eyes!

ELITE Senegal 2018 was made possible because of the Mandela Washington YALI Reciprocal Exchange opportunity. During the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Fadieye had the opportunity to spend over two months in Austin, Texas. The Reciprocal Exchange opportunity allowed two American professionals to travel to Africa in order to expand professionally. That is how Fadieye and two American professionals got the funding for ELITE Senegal 2018.

ELITE Senegal 2018
ELITE stands for Entrepreneurship, Leadership and IT Exchange. During one week, over 40 girls had courses in entrepreneurship, leadership and IT. Obviously, ELITE was a personal project of Fadieye’s. As an owner of a fashion brand, she wanted to share her experiences with young girls in the same industry. In addition, she also wanted these young girls to learn something valuable, preferably something they were not being taught at school. Besides that, the students also got the opportunity to work on designing an outfit for either women, men, hijabi’s or children.

Sharing experiences
What I loved most was the amount of experiences that were shared during ELITE Senegal 2018. Not only were there courses on entrepreneurship, leadership and IT, but also the personal stories of some female Senegalese designers. We had the opportunity to personally hear Adama Paris’ story, share words with the owner of So’Fatoo and get some advice from Touty. Of course, Fadieye also took the opportunity to share her journey with us and the girls.

Fadieye organized ELITE Senegal 2018

Fadieye organized ELITE Senegal 2018

During ELITE, I saw a different side of Senegal and its youth. I would have not expected a large group of young girls so committed to a program. And all I can think of is that they were because the people who organized it were also committed. I have never had the chance to study in Senegal, so I cannot say how it would be compared to normal classes. However, I’d say that education should have such an approach that keeps its students motivated. Which comes all back to sharing experiences. I remember that during my studies, we had regular guest lectures from professionals. Most of them were actually alumni from our school, and we had people to relate to. Overall, I think it is something great to look forward to, and all the questions you have you can ask someone who is already successful in their field.

Mini Elite fashion competition
ELITE ended with an epic mini fashion competition. The second half of the week, the students were divided in pairs and assigned a category. They had to draw a design, measure their model and finally sew and present their creations to the judges. Of each category, there was one winning pair. A beautiful thing to see was that to these kids it didn’t matter who actually won in their category. As soon as Fadieye announced each winner, the whole group was genuinely cheering on for their classmates. Even at the end, when we were thanking all the partners and everyone who helped during the week, they were all eager to cheer them on. It was truly a beautiful thing to see young women supporting other young women.

If you are interested in reading more about #ELITESenegal2018, you can read my articles on Senegalese Twisted. If you are more into visuals, you can watch the video of the closing ceremony we held on Friday.

Khady aka Senegalese Twisted
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