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Turning Problems into Opportunities

By Izabayo Nyiramutuzo

Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. One person who knows this very well is Faustin Bagabo, a Lecturer at the School of Law, University of Rwanda and an advocate at the Rwanda Bass Association, East African Law Society.


Born and raised in Rwanda, Faustin faced a significant tragedy at the age of nine when his father died. Like most any boy, Faustin was very devastated by the news and he couldn’t even continue his studies. He did eventually come across a quote: “Inside of every problem lies an opportunity”. It was a prompt to honor his father and re-dedicate his efforts to his studies.


“I realized that my studies were the only weapon to change my life,” he said. “I later developed an ambition to be among the best students in the whole country and to become an international lawyer to serve the needs of the vulnerable.”


He is on track to succeeding in this goal, finishing his studies as among the best students in Rwanda. Through his hard-work, he was admitted to the School of Law at the University of Rwanda.


“I was very glad as I was able to see the power of setting and reaching goals,” he said.

Faustin got inspiration from a book called Think Big by Dr. Ben Carson. From that book he read two things that inspired him in his life journey. First, try but don’t fail to try. Second, if others can, why can’t I do it better? These insights impacted his career path.


In 2016, he started as a lecturer; a dream of his from the first year at university. Even though the salary was not good, he worked there since it was his ambition.


Bagabo Faustin’s Goals

Firstly, Faustin wants to go outside Rwanda since he wants to become an international lawyer at the International Criminal Court of Justice in the African Court of Human Rights.


Secondly, he wants to have an NGO to help prisoners since he is very interested in human rights in criminal proceedings.


Thirdly, he wants to study his PhD at Oxford University. He also plans to run a organization, which will be helping prisoners.


He is confident that he can reach these since what he achieved thus far has been more difficult.


Advice for young people

“Most of the people fail because they don’t have a plan for success,” Faustin said.


He believes that the young generation wants success in theory, but they often aren’t willing to work hard and sacrifice their energy and change their mindset.


“Success comes after determination,” said Faustin. “When you have determination and a clear vision, you increase the likelihood of success. If you don’t get a job, you need to think of another way to succeed."


Rwanda is experiencing high levels of youth unemployment. In response, Faustin’s advice is to “live with purpose. If you have purpose in your life, you will have great opportunities to achieve your goals.”


Key Lessons on Innovation

Here are some of the most important lessons I learned from Faustin about creativity, which for me means finding solutions to major problems.

  • Have a clear plan. Employers seek candidates with professional experience, not because they may be handsome or beautiful.

  • Stay focused on goals. If you don't get a job, you may be able to think of another way to achieve success.

  • Be accountable and ask for help. This entails performing one's duties correctly. Ask for help if you don't know what to do.

  • Make mistakes and learn from them. It is not a sin to make mistakes. If you don't learn from your mistakes, you've made a mistake. Adapt the tactics to suit the situation.

Key Takeaways

Since my childhood, I've wanted to become an international lawyer. The advice I got from Bagabo Faustin will push me to keep developing my ambition since it is not too late to achieve it. I learned that staying focused on your goal can help you to achieve something big. No matter what circumstances will come in my way, I have to keep working hard without giving up.

I learned from him that knowing what I want to achieve as well as having a commitment to other people who achieved their goals will help me achieve mine. It was also a great opportunity to hear how he started his journey and gained success. This advice will help me develop my vision of working in the advocacy field.


Learn more about Faustin at his LinkedIn profile.

Izabayo Nyiramutuzo is a student at Southern New Hampshire University, Global Education Movement University Program in Rwanda. You can connect with her on LinkedIn. She wrote this story after going through Global Innovators Academy's Interview an Innovator online course experience.