Her story has been featured on various global media. Together with her sibling, Patience Nduwawe, they setup www.tohoza.com. Similar to the popular Western website Craigslist, Tohoza is a web-based classified ad directory where Rwandans can post or look for job vacancies as well as buy, sell and rent just about anything — from houses and cars to watches and shoes. The platform gets tens of thousands of visits daily. Chance Tubane, 33, is also recipient of the Imbuto Foundation’s CYRWA 2013.
Mention the name Christelle Kwizera in the villages of eastern Rwanda, and everybody wants to say something about her. The elderly folks simply call her “umukobwa wacu” (our daughter). Outside Rwanda, she has been described as one of the “lionesses of Africa”. Christelle Kwizera, 24, is a startup story of a social entrepreneur on a mission to provide much-needed affordable water solutions to communities across Africa. Kwizera is the founder of Water Access Rwanda (WARwanda), a company that provides water filtration devices, products and services aimed at finding and exploiting underground water, as well as providing full community water development schemes and training programmes. Using her mechanical engireering skills, she has allowed thousands of homes to smile to the nearest wells – dozens of them actually. Even before she founded WARwanda, Kwizera led various social action platforms including: Emerging Leaders and Entrepreneurs of Rwanda and Isaro Foundation. Talk about social impact activism, and you will have Christelle Kwizera as one of your best friends.
The Queen’s girl Kellya Uwiragiye
While Kellya Uwiragiye completed her university dissertation on how Rwandan media serves people living with disabilities, she found a huge gap with regards those with vision impairment. She settled down to not just talk about it, but to doing something about it. She founded the “Media for Deaf Rwanda” campaign.
As result of the 25-year-old’s work, Kellya, as she’s fondly known, is one of the recipients of the Commonwealth Queen’s Young Leaders Programme award. She is also an awardee of Celebrating Young Rwandan Achievers (CYRWA).
If you do not like listening to people who could give you ‘a piece of their mind’ when you do wrong, then do no invite Ingabire Immaculee to your event or step on her toes. She is a founding member of anti-graft group Transparency Rwanda that has not shied away from speaking truth to power. The local press is in love with her and when she speaks in interviews or press conferences, they type her every word. It is not because she was previously one of their own!
She has found herself on a confrontational path with private companies and state agencies as she denounces ‘sex corruption’ – where women are forced to provide sex to get jobs. Though Transparency Rwanda does not name individuals, it has ranked institutions.
Rwanda Women’s cricketer Cathia Uwamahoro has set the Guinness World Record for the longest net session in women’s history. The 22-year old batted for 26 hours straight to set the record at the Amahoro stadium. She has become an outstanding female cricketer and a massive role model for young people in the country, with cricket becoming the fastest growing sport in Rwanda.
Rev. Sr. Immaculee Uwamaliya
Rev Sr. Immaculée Uwamariya has a national community support initiative ‘Famille Espérance’ (FAES) which helps families and couples to live harmoniously. She is also a renowned motivational speaker. Sr. Uwamariya is also recipient of various national honours and awards for her work.
Sandrine Mutezinka and Christine Ashimwe
The girls are still attending high school, but are already nationally recognised entrepreneurs. The 17-year olds are the proprietors of Gashora Gold which produces peanut butter that has become choice for the biggest hotels locally. African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina has witnessed firsthand the success of these young ladies.
Actress Laura Musanase a.k.a Nikuze
The names Nikuze or Laura Musanase may not ring on the minds of the elite, but speak to ordinary Rwandans and you will be surprised at its popularity. And if your source of news is the local English or French media, you probably may never know Laura Musanase.
The 24-year old plays Diane Nikuze on a local TV drama series ‘City Maid’, which is subject of constant reviews in the Kinyarwanda press. She is one of the faces keeping the vibrant tabloid press alive.
Project Compiled by Leonard Nshimiyimana and Julius Rwakarema
Graphic drawings by Simplice Sibomana