In 2010, Denise Uwase had no option but to join sports while at University, something she says, brought not only happiness but also helped her find a purpose in life. “I wasn’t a sports person, neither did I like any. However, circumstances pushed me into it, as this was the only way I could continue studying,” she says. The mother of one says as an orphan, there was no one to financially support her university studies, yet she wanted to study. The only way out was to join sports in her school so that she can get a scholarship. According to her, during that time, University of Rwanda used to give sports scholarships for those who were good at it, and this is when she decided to start playing basketball in order to grab the rare opportunity at that particular moment. “Little did I know that this was going to become not only my family but also my passion and refuge at the same time, I have come to love the game up to now,” she says. After playing for five years, she decided to start coaching in 2016, since during that time, there were no supporters of women and girls teams, yet the teams were few as well. “My motive for becoming a coach was to inspire more girls and women to get into the Basketball game. My dream was to work with them and I felt like this was an opportunity to do so,” she adds. Career in Sports At the moment, Uwase is a certified Youth Basketball coach in Rwinkwavu and a mentor for young girls at Glow programs in Kayonza District. She is also working as a volunteer in coaching Shooting Touch youth in the same district. In 2012, she became the U-18 National team Captain, joined APR and her team was champions for three consecutive years, which led them to play in Zone 5 Club championships. In her basketball career, she got an opportunity to play with UBUMWE women basketball team in 2015 and the team won the league that year. The following year, she started a project called Amahoro stadium suburbs, which involves children of sex workers and started training them in basketball. Because of her talent, she was also lucky enough to participate in different national Basketball Camps and was later appointed the men’s Basketball National Team Manager in 2017-2018. Today, Uwase is an assistant coach of the ADEGGI team which consists of young girls/women. She cites getting back in big basketball teams as her biggest dream, as well as continuing mentoring and inspiring more women in sports. “I want to see the kids I am training today in the national teams because I have a philosophy of seeking change in people around me, it will be a pleasure for me to change lives,” she says. She also notes that as a woman, she views sports as key elements in building societies as it unites people. However, she also says that in sports, there are many challenges including bad perception from the society on girls and sports. To her, being able to convert these setbacks into real lives is the key to success. “I believe sport is a powerful tool to help girls and women feel empowered, and when women are involved in sports their capabilities are seen and celebrated. Uwase also has a strong belief that sports boosts one’s self-esteem and helps them especially young girls to prevent or stay away from early pregnancies, which has now become a common issue among teenagers. Moving forward, she says as a communication person, she dreams using her skills as well to help women discover their talents in sports and how to use them to achieve their dreams.