John Mungaruriye grew up in communities outside Rwanda where he witnessed women’s rights being violated. His childhood experiences shaped him into a man he is. Today, he is an activist who campaigns for the welfare of teen mothers, and vulnerable girls in Nyagatare District, and this has made him win several awards over the course of years. In his early teenage-hood, Mungaruriye who lived in one of the neighbouring countries started witnessing violence against women and girls. He felt helpless. Pondering what he could do to help, Mungaruriye realized that he had to stand up and fight for the value of a girl. At the time, he was 15 and a high school student. “I started trying to help girls as I would help my sister,” narrates Mungaruriye. “Whenever they sent one home due to lack of school fees, I would ask my mother for some money to help out, and because she didn’t want to hurt me and my brothers, given that our father had left us when we were little, she wouldn’t hesitate to provide the money.” Mungaruriye states that he always felt relief when he helped a needy person. In 2015 when he Returned to Rwanda and settled in Rwimiyaga Sector, Nyagatare District, he connected with different vulnerable girls and forged ahead his advisory and financial support using the little money he said he had. “I would take some money from my salary to provide for the girls. At the time, I was working as a musician in the Calvary Temple located in the sector,” he explains. As days passed, Mungaruriye realised that the medium of communication he was using (calling the girls via phone) was not as effective as he wanted. He decided to create a WhatsApp group and added those who were using the platform for mass communication and coordination. The WhatsApp group was named ‘Girls of Destiny’. He later turned it into an organization which started with an aim of building ambitious girls who value themselves and strive to create change in their communities. Mungaruriye says that coming up with the organisation, aimed at giving needy girls the same treat he would give his own sister if he had one. He adds that he currently helps teenage mothers in Nyagatare District, mainly offering them milk. He extended his helping hand in 2017, when met a group of more teen mothers and kept supporting them and their children, providing them with clothes and helping those who had dropped out to get back into schools. According to Mungaruriye, some of them have graduated from high school while others have smallholder businesses that are helping them and their children to move their lives forward. “We also kept helping vulnerable girls from poor families, getting them school fees as well as school and hygienic materials. We have currently supported over 300,” he said. Mungaruriye also teaches social values and sexual reproduction in different schools and has since gained more members for Girls of Destiny. He says the organisation has eight clubs in different schools and around 120 active members. “Seeing girls we coached since high school realising their dreams to help their families and the country at large is fulfilling,” he said, tackling one of their achievements. Apart from that, Girls of Destiny has won the Service Excellence Award for two consecutive years (2021 and 2022) as the Local NGO of the Year. Mungaruriye says they seek to hold more talks in schools as for now, they have done so in 36 that are located in Nyagatare and Kayonza Districts. He calls for further partnership from the government in different programs they do including Tinyuka Mukobwa Urashoboye where they encourage girls to stand up, work and preserve their dignity instead of relying on boys or men, in a bid to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies, Sobanukirwa Amateka y’Igihugu Cyawe where they hold excursions with girls to learn more about the history of Rwanda so that they can fight for the country, and Rwanda Rweze 2050 where they envisage that by that year, no Rwandan girl will be marginalised due to any concern. “Girls of Destiny envisage girls that value themselves, have a vision that matches Rwanda’s, and those who help fellows without vision to have it,” said Mungaruriye.