7 July 2021

Student handpicked for prestigious leadership programme

Shortly before Women’s Month, Sandrine Kwinja (28), an Advanced Diploma: Interior Design student at the Tshwane University of Technology, received the good news that she was handpicked from a group of young women worldwide to take part in the prestigious Women@Dior: Women Leadership & Sustainability Education Programme, presented in conjunction with UNESCO.

Sandrine Kwinja (28), an Advanced Diploma: Interior Design student, was selected to participate in the prestigious Women@Dior: Women Leadership & Sustainability Education Programme, presented in conjunction with UNESCO.

Created in 2017, Women@Dior is a unique international mentoring and educational programme that has coached and blossomed thousands of young women all over the world. The programme is an exclusive opportunity to learn what is not taught: self-confidence and to dare for your current destiny. 

Participants represent the best business, engineering, art, and fashion schools, spanning across almost 25 countries, and are selected based on three criteria, namely talent, ambition, and generosity. They are all young, full of promise and potential, and must be enrolled at one of UNESCO’s or Dior’s partner universities at Bachelor-level.

Asked what this unique opportunity means to her, Sandrine, who hails from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, says: “There is always a given door in every opportunity. What you decide to do with it, is entirely up to you. You can either decide to find the right key to go through it and face what lies ahead, or you can choose to keep it shut and stay in your comfort zone, but then you will never get to experience what it takes to be shaped into who you are meant to be.”

Through the educational programme, which commenced virtually on 29 June, participants are trained by inspiring leaders and stakeholders on the thematic of gender equality and women’s leadership for a sustainable future, guided by their Dior mentors as they take their first steps in their careers, and whilst they build their professional experience. Sandrine’s first virtual session was with Shona Pinnock, New York-based Vice-President for Diversity and Inclusion at Louis Vuitton Bronx. 

Each Mentee/Mentor duo shares an exclusive relationship and is mostly matched through an innovative approach based on their compatibility.

Sandrine says she decided to study Interior Design because she loves everything that has to do with arts, and that she has always been intrigued by materials used in this discipline. 

“I often found myself touching the walls, floors, furniture, and accessories while visiting shopping centres and offices to feel the forms and patterns they had. I then applied and got accepted for the course. By doing so, I’ve acquired great knowledge about space efficiency, colour and lighting effects, textures, and patterns. The course allowed me to develop creative skills. I have learned to design and meet a client's brief while considering the budget. I hope to open my own design company one day where I could help clients to see their ideas come to life, and having a dwelling worth living in and being able to call it a haven. I would also love to create employment by having young people showcase and sell their work, thereby creating scholarships for those who wish to study Interior Design,” she adds.

Given Women’s Month, which will be celebrated in August, Sandrine has a special message to fellow female students: “Love one another, be united, and uplift each other. You were all gifted with special talents, something unique, and that only you can master. Invest in them and use them wisely. Believe in yourself. Being busy is never an excuse to not experience other adventures and opportunities. Work on yourself, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Growth is a process and can be done in various ways, so pay attention to what is going on around you. As women, we have a voice that needs to be heard, one that can impact and change the world. We can survive almost anything. We are strong and capable of doing wonders,” she concludes.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Phaphama Tshisikhawe, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
Tel: +27 12 382 4711  Email: tshisikhawerpt@tut.ac.za