Dreams do not become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work to accomplish.
That is exactly what young entrepreneur and media personality Alina Lee Ntombirayi Karimamusama known as Alina Lee Karima has done to make her dreams a reality.
Still in her early twenties, Alina Lee is an alumni of Cambridge University Institute of continuing education, founder of Youth Arise Initiative (YAI) and an Internationally acclaimed Chef among other things.
At 18, Alina became Zambia’s youngest Creative Director and Executive Producer but while her achievements may make her seem fortunate she has not always had it easy.
Born in Kitwe and raised by a single mother Alina is a Zambian with Ethiopian and Zimbabwean roots. She and her sister generally traveled a lot to fit their mum’s work schedule which had her working in different parts of the country thereby constantly changing schools throughout her childhood.
From as early as eight years old, Alina said she wanted to be involved in business which saw her entrepreneurship journey start at the age of fourteen.
Alina describes her journey as one which has had its ups and downs.
“I have had people who did not believe in me, you have to learn to be your biggest cheerleader,” said Alina.
She describes 2013 as the hardest year after deciding to take a gap year which spilt over into 2014.
“It was hard for me to see my friends progressing getting into college, working part time while I was still figuring out what I wanted,” Alina explained.
When it comes to inspiration, she speaks of her mother whom she says has been an inspiration since childhood.
She explained that despite coming from a not well to do background, her mother always ensured that she provided for them. She attributes her motivation to how her mother pulled out of life’s challenges and did her best to ensure she and her sister were okay.Alina works as a marketer and advertiser for corporate companies. She is also into production of TV shows as well as a cooking show known as “Cooking with Alina Lee.”
Alina is currently actively involved in a project under her NGO called the Women Economic Empowerment Movement which trains young women and girls in sustainable development skills and helps them launch their entrepreneurship journey.
Alina said she is enjoying working with women at the organisation and helping them change their perspectives from thinking that they and the generations after them are stuck in poverty and helping them realise they can work it out for the better.
“The fact that it goes from me motivating them to me being inspired by them with the work that they are doing through their determination is an accomplishment in my life,” Alina said.
Currently the organisation trains about 8 girls a year and in the next five years we would love to be able to train 1000 girls, she said.
To the young people and upcoming entrepreneurs Alina’s advice is that they should be willing to take risks and not feel bad when they fail.
She said Entrepreneurship is a tough journey but it is very rewarding therefore, people must not be afraid to let go of something that isn’t working and try something new.