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“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events while small minds discuss people”, that was how I got introduced to this life changing experience. It was the last day of registration when a friend of mine sent me a link to register for a one-year program, as a curious young person, open to learn new things and different adventures and with zero expectation yet, I didn’t hesitate at all to register. Few weeks passed, I got the acceptance mail and invitation for the interview, and that was one of the most exciting news I received during that period, but the rougher and more difficult the path becomes, the higher the greatness and success and that was how unpredictable and mysterious the beginning of my journey was.

Out of 120 accepted applicants called for the interview, I was the only one that didn’t receive the link to be interviewed. With sadness and fear of being dropped off for no reason, I contacted the organizers and realized it was just an error and once again, my interview was the last one on the last day. At this moment, I was already having a mixed feeling about it all but never lost hope and confidence in myself. After all the rollercoaster, I was one of the 60 finalists selected and it all became a story with a beautiful ending. It was an end but it was also the beginning of something more inspiring. At first, I only applied based on recommendation but upon the beginning, I began to grow more motivated, ready to take on the new challenge and inspired to change lives.

The Leadership Lab program was a program organized by the US Embassy in partnership with AFCD Foundation.

Throughout this one-year program, I acquired several new skills that helped me grow as a leader and ready to conquer whatever challenge I encounter. It transformed my life into another level; I became much more confident in myself and abilities, while working harder and much motivated towards being a true change-maker. The journey wasn’t just about the trainings we had only but also the different personalities and inspiring individuals I encountered and the conversations that we engaged in were also main keys to stay motivated. Moreover, the exchange of information and experiences among all the participants helped us grow together and take each other long throughout the whole year, which at the end helped build a strong networking circle with different opportunities.

The journey wasn’t easy as expected; but with the help of our mentors and trainers, we were able to overcome every challenge. Their guidance and different insights throughout the program helped produce series of amazing life-changing projects. Regardless of the projects that won the seed-funding, every project was ready to be implemented as they have been well-tailored.

Looking back to all the years of learning and participating in different youth activities and trainings, I can proudly point out this Leadership Lab as that significant turning point as I step into the leadership world, ready to inspire lives and help other people in my community. Over the years, I’ve always been a follower, accumulating knowledge and experiences, but now, I am leading a whole team with a project that will change my community to a better one.

Ahmad Saddauna Alli


Nouh Bahadda

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