Kigali, 26 September 2023 – “Learning how to learn.” These powerful words encapsulate the transformative impact of Kepler on the life and career of Alexis Simbayobewe, an alumnus who has taken the lessons and inspiration gleaned from Kepler to extraordinary heights. Alexis, the Executive Director of Sheer Love Rwanda, has journeyed from the streets to success, and his Kepler experience has been a driving force in this remarkable trajectory.
Alexis’s journey at Kepler began with a dream deeply rooted in his personal experiences and aspirations. Having spent a part of his childhood living on the streets, he carried the vision of making a difference in the lives of children who, like him, had faced adversity. His high school teacher, who transitioned to the business world, served as a beacon of inspiration, motivating him to pursue a career in business management.
“I thought that doing that would help me be someone just like him and then support children living on the street because I lived on the street when I was young,” recalls Alexis, reflecting on his motivation to embark on his educational journey at Kepler.
At Kepler, Alexis pursued Business Management with a concentration in Logistics and Operations. He didn’t just acquire knowledge; he honed a fundamental skill that has shaped his personal and professional life – the ability to learn independently. Early in his Kepler journey, he dived into the world of software, teaching himself how to use video editing software like Camtasia. This newfound confidence in self-directed learning became a guiding principle for him.
“Kepler taught a great thing, ‘Learning how to learn.’… If I don’t know how to do something, I don’t rest without mastering it,” Alexis remarks, emphasizing the enduring impact of Kepler’s educational philosophy.
Like many students, Alexis encountered challenges during his time at Kepler. Time management and work ethic were areas where he sought improvement. However, with the support of his tech Teaching Assistants and tutors, he developed effective time management strategies. Collaboration, once seen as competition, became a hallmark of his approach.
“I learned that asking for help is not weakness, but the power of self-awareness,” says Alexis, reflecting on his personal growth during his Kepler years.
Kepler-SNHU Degree: A Career Catalyst
The Kepler-Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) degree was the key that unlocked Alexis’s career. His education equipped him with practical skills, such as project management and web development, which he used to establish his organization, Sheer Love Rwanda.
Since 2017, Sheer Love provides resources that enable the reintegration of street children into the community, support their education and empower families to create a supportive environment to prevent children from going to the streets.
“The Kepler-SNHU degree actually opened my doors to my career,” Alexis explains, highlighting how his learning experiences at Kepler directly contributed to the birth and growth of Sheer Love Rwanda.
The learning environment at Kepler was instrumental in shaping Alexis’s professional journey. It served as a business hub, facilitating connections with mentors, friends, and partners who continue to support his endeavors. Kepler’s collaborative ethos fostered teamwork and provided the foundation for Alexis’s thriving career.
From Alumnus to Advocate
Since graduating from Kepler in 2019, Alexis has taken on the role of Executive Director at Sheer Love Rwanda, where he dedicates himself to supporting vulnerable children in pursuing their dreams through education. His mission is to give hope to those living on the streets, bridging the gap between them and life-changing opportunities.
Critical thinking, a skill honed at Kepler, plays a vital role in Alexis’s daily professional life. His work with disadvantaged children and families demands a careful assessment of each situation to determine the best solutions.
Presently, Sheer Love Rwanda is actively involved with forty-four children. They are rewriting the narrative of street life, aspiring to careers as lawyers, teachers, doctors, engineers, and more. Achieving this impact required the organization to collaborate with local government, parents or guardians among other supporters.
In the next five years, Alexis envisions Sheer Love Rwanda expanding its reach, with its approach being replicated in areas struggling with street children and poverty. He also plans to create a platform to share his experiences and educate social workers globally on effectively responding to the challenges faced by children living on the streets.
To current and prospective Kepler students, Alexis offers his insights encouraging them to follow their dreams, embrace continuous learning, prioritize tech skills, and cultivate a vision for their career journey.
To learn more about Sheer Love Rwanda’s impact, visit www.sheer-love-rwanda.org.