Undoubtedly, the best part of working at UCBC is rubbing shoulders with the creative young changemakers who study there. I want to introduce you to one of these excellent young adults, David Bujiriri, or as he is called by his friends, Buj (pronounced “oo” as in boot).
Buj is a junior computer engineering major from Bukavu. Despite having specialized in a non-technical discipline in high school (yes, in Congo students are tracking into different focuses in high school), Buj overcame his lack of mathematical preparation through determination and perseverance. He regularly sought help from me and TAs beyond the requirements of his courses in order to catch up. Now, he is well into his advanced level courses and dreaming of how to use his education to impact Congo.
Last year, Buj, along with some other students from his cohort, approached me and a professor of computer science to help mentor him in a special project. He had identified a problem in his community. The medical institutions in the DRC had a major issue with information technology – specifically, there was none. He noticed that hospitals had no digital records of procedures done, medical history, or patient information such as allergies. His vision was to create a medical portal that allowed local hospitals and clinics to store and share this information avoiding diagnostic errors that plague the current system.
Despite the project being clearly ambitious and requiring many programming methods he had yet to learn, Buj and his fellow students embarked on the project. This was in addition to the notoriously crushing workload of the regular Applied Science curriculum. A couple months ago, Buj sent me the image below and excitedly told me that it was becoming a reality.
The initiative Buj has shown over the last few years isn’t limited to technical projects. Buj and a group of his classmates also launched a youth arts promotion initiative in Beni called Beni Forward in Our Talents (BFOT). You can see some of what they are doing at instagram.com/bfot_
The time I spent at ucbc helped me see things in [a] different way, to detect challenges in my community and try to find solutions and also to do something good for others and for my country in order to change the future of my country.