Menya Accelerator – An entrepreneurship and capacity Building Program for the Burundian Youth

For youth in Burundi, access to an unobstructed educational path can be challenging. More than 70 percent of the population lives in poverty with high levels of food insecurity. Young people are often forced to retire their academic goals to help provide for their families with seven out of ten children never getting to finish secondary school. A country where more than fifty percent of its population falls under the age of 18 begs the question: how can you increase academic opportunities for youth in Burundi and how can those opportunities be accessed by those who want them? Those were the same questions that Don De Dieu Iradukunda pondered before conceptualizing, and later founding, what is now Menya Accelerator.

Menya Accelerator is an education initiative that aims to provide high quality programs for youth enrolled in formal education institutions or beyond. Its mission is to leverage technology and entrepreneurship to advance education, leadership, and practical learning experiences for youth in Burundi. Participants will be equipped with 21st-century skills, knowledge, and opportunities to better their lives, reach their full potential, and give back to their community.

Everyone needs community. That’s my personal belief,” says Don. “At Menya Accelerator, we want to create an ecosystem where young students can get the skills, they need for their entrepreneurial goals but to also have access to a community that will support them in the path towards achieving their objectives.

Don De Dieu Iradukunda was born and raised in Burundi in a family of four kids. His academic achievements, alongside a great deal of luck, allowed him to attend some of the best public schools in the country. He was accepted into the African Leadership Academy, a renowned pre- university program focused on entrepreneurial development, before becoming a Mastercard Scholar at Michigan State University. Currently, he is completing his graduate studies at Sciences Po in Paris, France while simultaneously launching the first ever Menya Accelerator camp this Summer. Thankfully, he is not alone in the journey.