Meet Sally Kimangu- CEO at Destination Imagination (DI), a global educational organization dedicated to inspiring the next generation of innovators, leaders and creative problem solvers.
Sally is an Edtech social entrepreneur with over two decades of experience with a passion and dedication to implementing STEAM /EDTECH projects in Africa. For her, this current drive has seen the implementation of various multi-phased projects across the continent. Today, she is impacting hundreds of African children through STEAM Education, culminating in their achievement of a STEAM certificate, by enabling many African children to thrive in sciences and bridging the gap between academia and real-life experiences.
As a young individual, she always loved selling stuff. She says, “I used to monetize every chore, save paid up money from my parents, bake cakes and sell them! I am the second generation getting into the business. My mom was a teacher but extremely entrepreneurial. She was my first business coach. For me, access to capital and managing business money was a big challenge. I registered my first business at the age of 19. I was making money but I didn’t know how to manage money.”
Post this, she went to China and bought a bunch of educational supplies to fill up a container to send over to Botswana so that she could set up an EdTech shop there. Unfortunately, the bank refused to authorize her loan or let her withdraw any money from her account until the stock had been transferred, so to her, it seemed like the problem was all in how badly things were handled there on the ground level. That was a huge setback for her as she had already spent 50% of what she needed for her educational institution and lost everything since then because she couldn’t get anything approved or make any payments. After all, nothing was authorized by the bank. However, her plan flopped and her business went belly-up eventually.
It took her a lot of time and effort to finally build Destination Imagination.
She built this organisation with the vision that when an educational experience is hands-on, collaborative and fun, students are empowered to take their learning to the next level and are excited to do so. It provides unique educational experiences across different project-based Challenge types–Technical, Scientific, Engineering, Improvisational, Service Learning, and Early Learning.
She says, “I train marginalized communities through Education which is extremely fulfilling. We assist educators in how to connect with their students and help inspire kids to learn through the use of recycled materials. Part of our programme focuses on emotional intelligence that envisions the learners achieving a balance between the material world and themselves.
- We work with Youth as trainers. Through the programme, they earn and learn.
- Most learners get a feel of 21st century skills through our programme for the first time. This shifts their mindset, self-esteem, career exposure and guidance.
I started the business with very little capital. This has made me appreciate humble beginnings and understand bootstrapping.”
For Sally, her biggest cheque was from the sales of the document management system. She was paid a pretty penny by the government of Botswana, according to her. “We implemented the project successfully and exceeded clients’ expectations,” she says.
At present, she imagines a continent with a generation of knowledgeable labourers working to grow the economy, reducing poverty in Africa and putting it firmly on the 4th industrial revolution- and this forms her vision. She believes that the world needs more problem solvers who love their jobs, just like her.