WHILE HAVING a plain friendly chat with the 21-year-old Patrick Nsenga Buchana, he kept on talking about the different projects he is working on: the Microsoft meeting, the BOD meeting, the test he’s reading for and a story he has to write and am thinking... hold up, how old are you again?
It hit me that despite his busy schedule, the 21-year-old is passionate about everything he does and manages his time quite impressively. He always meets deadlines for all the many tasks he has. I drew a lot of inspiration from him and I hope sharing his story will certainly inspire a soul or hundreds more.
If you are a regular reader of the Women Today on Thursdays and Society Magazine on Fridays in The New Times, you should have certainly come across Buchana’s articles that often come with a blend of humour. Of late some of his more serious articles have appeared in Education Times, another pullout in The New Times.
He is on the Board of Directors for Youth Literacy Organisation and was also recently elected as one of Microsoft’s students’ ambassadors in Rwanda where he will be the focal person between Rwanda’s IT students and Microsoft. Microsoft Corporation is one of the world’s largest software makers.
Buchana is also a first year student pursuing a bachelors in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) and also one of the few students being mentored by Carnegie Mellon University professors.
When the Microsoft team came to Rwanda to find a student ambassador, they specifically went to the third year students at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). Several students were interested and applied. This meant that Buchana, being a first year student, could not apply. However, when he was at k-Lab, he heard about the search for an ambassador and got interested.
k-Lab (knowledge Lab) is a unique open technology hub in Kigali where students, fresh graduates, entrepreneurs and innovators come to work on their ideas/projects hoping to turn them into viable business models.
Buchana approached one of the members from Microsoft and expressed his interest in being Microsoft’s ambassador. Meanwhile, this was a day after the deadline and being a first year student further complicated his chances.
But despite all the above, he applied and emerged winner and is now a Microsoft Students Ambassador. What struck me most about this 21-year-old is his hardworking nature and passion for ICT.
The brainchild behind impressive projects
Although still a first year student, he is already working on two projects that will hopefully be out on the market very soon. One of them is the project that made him a tenant at k-Lab. He’s been working on a project where he is putting up a website allowing people to have information from other universities.
For instance, if students need to get course outlines from different universities, they can find them online once he is done working on this project.
How he started and what drives him
“When I was starting my degree, I thought about the fact that we are so many students going to graduate at the end of the course and some with first class degrees. I wanted to look out for something that would make me different. I didn’t want to just go to school, graduate and then hit the streets for a job. I wanted to put my skills to practice and start up early enough before I finish,” he points out.
“They are always encouraging us to be job creators but they never tell us how to start, so I had to find a way to start,” he adds. Buchana and his friend Mark Musasizi are working on another project called ‘Food for less’ which will kick off next month. Food for Less is an online web application that will allow people to order for food online right in the comfort of their homes or offices.
As if all that is not too much, Buchana is also doing an online course called ‘Start up Management’ from Udasity and he is also yet to start another online course from Microsoft Virtual Academy.
Buchana’s greatest inspiration is his elder brother, Paul Buchana, a fourth year student at Makerere University studying Electrical Engineering. Paul is a geek currently trying to make a phone with his friends as their final year project.
At the end of his four year in school, Buchana wants to be a job creator and help other students learn how to start up their own projects instead of looking for jobs. “Rwanda has already created a platform for us, especially in IT so we should not study to seek for jobs but to create them since we have got almost all we need in place,” he advised.