Former Miss Rwanda Akiwacu on her philanthropic work

She is a former beauty queen of Rwanda who was Miss Rwanda in 2014 but despite the hurdles during her reign that did not see her complete her projects, Colombe Akiwacu did not give up her philanthropic work.

She is currently raising funds to complete the construction of two houses for genocide widows, an initiative she begun before the end of her reign.

She also has other projects in the pipeline. She had a chat with Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa on what she has been up to of late and her plans for her philanthropic work.

Tell us about the fundraising and inspired you to come up with it.

Colombe Akiwacu. / Courtesy

I started the construction of the two houses in 2015 right before the end of my reign. The reason why I came up with this idea is that I believe we can do much more with the Miss Rwanda title because having the crown is one of the most inspiring part of this initiative. 

I’ve always helped people in need but I wanted to do something sustainable to help generations. I believe that as an ambassador of youth, people will open doors easily. 

Today, I’m looking for Rwf6m to help the widows get shelter. 

Other than reaching out to the genocide widows, what else do you intend to do?

I still want to help people, but I want this to be done first. Then I would like to diverge into helping orphans. But I’m still looking for the best platform to make this happen because I’m not in Rwanda at the moment.

What else have you been up to of late?

I’m in my last year at university studying digital marketing. Apart from my studies I’m a model as well, I do work with different designers and photographers. I started building my career in the fashion industry not only by being a fashion model but by being an influencer as well. 

It wasn’t a smooth ride for you during your reign as Miss Rwanda 2014. What motivated you to carry on your projects?

Well, I had so many problems during my reign but like I always say “never be your own obstacle”

I couldn’t give up because before getting into Miss Rwanda competition I had goals of not only getting the crown but exploring all opportunities that it could bring to me. 

We have seen many former beauty queens drop their tools after their reign. Why do you think this is the case?

I think that it all depends on your career direction. Some of the beauty queens find a passion in a totally different direction that is expected of them. Other than doing something you are not passionate about, it makes sense to drop it. 

What are some of the lessons learnt from your reign as the Miss Rwanda 2014?

I learnt a lot. I learnt to never wait for someone’s help and that it’s up to me to fight for whatever I want. 

I learnt not to be naive because people are always looking for their own interest without caring how old or how young you are.I also travelled a lot which opened my eyes to many different things like the cultural diversity and easily interacting with different people.

One of your planned initiatives during your reign was to kick start a project to end drug abuse. How far did it go?

I still have that project in the pipeline but I have hindrances as well, living abroad being one of them. It is not easy to implement a project while you are away. It’s just a matter of time before I come back and get back to it.

So are you saying we should look forward to your return and putting your knowledge and skills to use?

I’ll definitely come back to my country. I’m getting experience which will help me do a significant job back at home.