Without the Association of Genocide Widows Agahozo founded by 50 widows in 1995 – months after one of the worst human tragedies had been stopped, it is hard to imagine how Rwanda would have handled the tens of thousands of women affected. It has acted as a home and platform for helping thousands of Genocide widows recover from their horrific experiences through psycho-social and economic support. It is for this reason that we pay tribute to their work.
Their biggest champion has been First Lady Jeannette Kagame.
Marathon winner Salome Nyirarukundo was unknown when she surfaced on national scene in May this year after winning a national marathon, beating even Kenyans who had taken part. Following her success, a national campaign was initiated to support local talent. Local stars are of late treated with a lot of reverence. The 25-year old has since been signed on by athletics management firm Global Sports Communication, which operates in Uganda, Kenya and China.
Rev. Sr. Helene Nayituriki
Sr. Nayituriki Helene saved more than 150 people during the 1994 genocide against Tutsis. She has been honoured with a national medal for fight against the Genocide. Despite the national accolades for her courage, humility is Sister Helene Nayituliki’s trademark. Strangely, she never ever wants to speak about her heroic act. She never accepts media interviews. Instead, to have her story told, KT Press, which is the only media that has previously profiled her, had to look for people who survived the horrors of death thanks to her sacrifice. She is currently a headteacher at Notre Dame de Citeaux in Kigali City.
When you compile a list of founders of institutions of higher learning in Rwanda, you will have acclaimed professors, PhD holders and then Zulfat Mukarubega. The widowed nurse and mother of three, married at 20 years many years ago with not much of an education, is the founder of the University of Tourism, Technology and Business Studies (UTB) based in Kigali.
The institution is releasing thousands onto the job market – helping to strengthen the tourism and hospitality industry that brought some $404 million into the national coffers last year.
Up until the campaign period of the August presidential polls, where Christine Murebwayire was chief campaigner for the RPF in Eastern and Northern Provinces – where she spoke at rallies to introduce the party flag bearer, she was not the household name you would expect.
The mother of four has a big alcohol and beverages factory working with hundreds of farmers in eastern Rwanda. Today, she is the chair of the agriculture chamber, one of the 10 chambers making up the Private Sector Federation (PSF).
Before the power and money, Murebwayire says she begged for food at one time.
Dr. Laetitia Nyinawamwiza
Researcher and educational leader, Dr. Laetitia Nyinawamwiza was the winner of ‘Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government 2017’ award at the CEO Global Africa Awards 2017. Dr Nyinawamwiza is currently the principal of the University of Rwanda, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicines (UR-CAVM).
Her name appears on the boards of many research institutions.
Her story is such an inspiration to Rwandan girls. Esther Mbabazi, 29, is the first female pilot in the country. From a dream to continue her late father’s aviation career, her face that has stood side-by-side with the expansion of the national carrier RwandAir. Her story needs no introduction as it has been told by the media from all corners.
Joy Ndungutse and Janet Nkubana
Going back several years ago, no one envisaged that at some point Agaseke – the handmade baskets knitted by mainly women for centuries, would turn out to be a major promotional tool of the country. Two siblings; Joy Ndungutse and Janet Nkubana made that happen through their firm Gahaya Links. Like the saying goes; the rest is history!