Getting ready for the School of Life with Kaz´O´zah & Bujumbura International Montessori School a.k.a. the Internship
June 12, 2018
As part of our mutual partnership, we are teaming up for the second time with Bujumbura International Montessori School (BIMS) to assist in the early steps of their school internship program.
Two BIMS students, Naomi and Elson, will be spending 10 days at our organisation to get a taste of the Fashion & Artisan industry in the areas of Design & Production, as well Marketing and Communications. To further enrich their horizon, the youngsters will be also engaging in other organisational areas.
As the concept of internship represents a new element in the BIMS syllabus, we we´re very keen on talking to Julie Blavier to find out more. Julie Blavier is the Secondary School Supervisor and Head of the French Language Department at BIMS, and she is supervising the students´ internships.
Kaz´O´zah (K): When did you decide to integrate internships into your school curriculum?
Julie Blavier (JB): In June 2017, our director Terrence Tanzer introduced short-term internships to the school syllabus for the first time ever, in order to help students acquire a first experience on the job and help them decide what to potentially study in the future. Implementing the concept of a traineeship is a total novelty in the Burundian high school system, and we are thrilled to be part of this.
Considering that we haven´t had a proper internship model in place, we simply tried to get hold of partners via our personal relational network, and hence came up with local businesses and organisations, such as Bon Prix, Autotech, Club du Lac, Smart, Giriyuja Street Kids Association, Kiriri Garden, and finally Kaz´O´zah.
As the students´ feedback was very positive, we decided to repeat the internship for the following class in 2018 - with the same key partners and new ones. We even decided to slightly extend the timeframe from originally 4 to 10 days, as our pupils were even requesting it themselves.
Luckily, all main fields of interest have been covered - Business, ICT and hospitality being at the forefront.
Kaz´O´zah (K): What is the rationale behind offering an internship?
Julie Blavier (JB): Following an internship provides them with a primary insight to the job life with practical and concrete experiences. Also, after completing the internship, students get an evaluation sheet and from some partners, such as
Kaz´O´zah, a certificate for participation, which they may subsequently use for further job applications and University enrollment. In addition to that, it simply represents a highlight outside of the regular school schedule.
Kaz´O´zah (K): Why did you choose Kaz´O´zah as collaborative partner?
Julie Blavier (JB):Ange Muyubira (Founder & Executive Director of Kaz´O´zah) and I have known each other for some time and I figured that her enterprise might be a good fit. Actually, the whole work place is a good example. She combines the business side with social aspects, and thus reflects a good role model. She perfectly demonstrates, how a) she can live of her passion for fashion, b) how one can live of their passion by translating it into something good.
Two of our female students, who have been interning with Ange for the first time, have been basically smiling the whole time and didn´t want to leave anymore. Thus, it was no surprise to us, that Elson, one of our other students soon to be interning with Kaz´O´zah, directly got in touch with Ange after she held a presentation at the Career´s Day at BIMS (in December 2017) to get on the internship.
We worked with Ange also on other occasions and it was always a great success, e.g. a paperbag making workshop with a whole class. During the visit the students would learn something new and innovative, find out about environmentally friendly behaviour and branding, and would see the behind the scene part of a Fashion Business, such as Kaz´O´zah. Finally, they would also see, how teachers and trainers may come from unlikely places, as the children have been taught by illiterate artisans.
Apart from that, BIMS and Ange´s enterprise share similar values, especially highlighting two key pillars: education and a social awareness. It´s complimentary.
Kaz´O´zah (K): What do you like in particular about Kaz´O´zah and in what way do you feel it benefits your students?
Julie Blavier (JB): At Kaz´O´zah, you learn how to run a business. Different departments are being covered. From Marketing, Communications, Finance & Accounting, Logistics to HR, Program Management and General Management, you can basically find anything. It opens the students´mind for the fashion sector and its multitude of professional opportunities that are linked to it.
One the other hand, Ange is teaching them real life lessons on, e.g. how rigorously you need to pursue your dreams and work hard at your job, as things don´t simply fall from the sky. And you can tell it was a big eye opener for the students.
Kaz´O´zah (K): Do ours session influence your students´career choice? What is the effect?
Julie Blavier (JB): Although, the overall feedback has been positive, it´s still too early to tell, if the students´career choice will remain the same. They have at least still one or two more years to go, before they will leave the high school to pursue their studies.
However, Ange has been giving valuable tools to the students, as how to arrive at making their decision by opening their own, and even their parents´ horizon to alternative career paths.
Kaz´O´zah (K): BIMS is advocating „Project based learning that is encouraging dynamic new approaches to learning“. At the same time, you are trying to create an environment that is encouraging social and environmental awareness. How do you think Kaz´O´zah fits into that vision?
In lots of ways! See again the example of the paper bag making class. Everything they learned within that course was engaging different areas of expertise or experiences, such as maths, physics, art skills and especially business studies - e.g. how to deal with the supplies you need, how to not waste the supplies, meet deadlines etc. They could apply everything on the spot.
And when it comes to social, well, the whole place or work environment is a good example for social and environmental awareness!