Miss Rwanda 2017 third runner up, Queen Kalimpinya, is the co-founder of ‘Bambe Clubs’, an NGO that sensitises the youth on sexual reproductive rights. It began its operations last month in the districts of Nyarugenge and Nyamata. The 18-year-old had a chat with Women Today’s Sharon Kantengwa on her plans for the project and the impact it will have on society.
What is ‘Bambe Clubs’ all about?
The project is an idea that I developed while still in primary school. I had a friend who lost her mother while giving birth to her tenth child and she was left with nine siblings to take care of. I also realised that some of my former school mates were dropping out of school, or lagging behind, due to early pregnancies.
All this gave me the inspiration to look for solutions to these problems and I realised that I could contribute to this by educating the youth on preventive measures. Some of these young people experience this because they don’t have the knowledge on what they are doing because of the myths that they have heard about sex.
My idea was to teach these young people their sexual reproductive rights through school clubs so that a young person, right from senior one, can understand what their sexual reproductive rights are at a time when their bodies begin to experience changes. I bring mentors, doctors and youth with experience to teach them, as well as girls who have experienced early pregnancies to testify.
Why the name ‘Bambe’?
‘Bambe’ is an expression of sympathy in our local language which was derived from the sympathy I had for my friend who lost her mother, and other young people and friends who have gone through several problems right before our eyes.
There are so many organisations in place doing what you do. What is Bambe Clubs doing differently?
What most of these organisations do is to come to the schools and discuss these topics with the students for just one day and once in a month. They do not know the impact that they leave behind. Different from these programmes, ‘Bambe’ is a club that brings the students together to discuss these matters twice a week which will create a bigger impact through the frequent meetings.
Which partners do you work with?
I haven’t worked with any other organisation so far because that is what kept me waiting. I had waited for the perfect moment to start this project, waiting for sponsors, until I realised there is no perfect moment. I realised that this was the perfect moment and I was delighted to know that the students were really interested in these clubs and were thirsty for knowledge on their sexual reproductive rights.
You will soon be joining university. How will you balance school with the project?
I’m committed to this cause and I believe that as long as you are passionate about what you do, you cannot fail to get time for it.
What plans do you have for the project?
This year, we are starting with small steps by taking these projects to one school per province because we do not have enough funds yet and, we believe that starting small will enable us go as far as possible. We are done with two already and we will be expanding them to other provinces.