In 2018, at the tender age of 20, Gloria Gatsinzi set out to establish a foundation that would focus on supporting vulnerable children, mainly street children and children from struggling households. At that age, one would argue that someone is also not yet established and is probably still going through education and being taken care of by parents but that is not the case of Gatsinzi. The founder of Care and Help Child Organisation knew deep down she was also young at the time but that did not stop her from doing something that would touch the lives of the less privileged children. “Many people ask me questions, because I'm helping vulnerable children and many other people. They used to ask me whether I was a street girl,” she says, wondering why people assume that to help people who are going through difficulties you need to have gone through difficulties yourself. Though she didn’t grow up in an opulent and most perfect family, Gatsinzi said she got all the love and care she needed as a child, which is one of the main reasons she set out to play her part to ensure that even other children grow up happy. “When I was young, I used to tell my mom that when I grow up, I would love to help vulnerable people, especially children,” “Children are like seeds, the more we invest in the children the more we protect the future. I mean, these are the heroes and leaders of tomorrow,” Gatsinzi said in an interview. It is an initiative she believes everyone can pick up, stating that if you feel that there is something you can do to help children grow up in a better world, do it now without having to wait because you are putting your money in a safe place. “In future, these are the children that will grow up and help our community. They will be the future doctors, pilots, teachers and other big people, with strong influence in society,” Gatsinzi says, adding that when it comes to helping, even nationality doesn’t matter because you don’t know where you will meet them. A strong love for children Gatsinzi’s love for children goes way back even when she was a child. From childhood, Gatsinzi used to meet children playing in the streets on her way from school. She started interacting with them and as time went on they warmed up to her and started confiding in her. Later in her first year at university, slowly by slowly, they bonded. She understood their plight and also quietly identified what can be done to help them get out of the difficult situation. “I really wanted to know the story behind the lives of those children and why they were not going to school. They told me the problems they were facing at home, moving on an empty stomach, not enough meals at home and they also don't have scholastic materials,” Gatsinzi says. The more she talked to them, the more she wanted to do something. She asked the children if they would go back to school if they got scholastic materials and they answered in affirmative. At the time, she had about Rwf20, 000 which she was supposed to take to the salon for braiding. Instead, she chose to cut off her hair and used the amount to buy books for the children, who were 10 at the time. Gatsinzi took an effort to follow up on them and when she got to their households, she found another 25 children who were also in a vulnerable situation and she also took them on. “I started with 35 children in total, distributing the materials I had bought amongst them, books and pens.” she recalls. Today, Gatsinzi has 575 children she is taking care of under her organisation. She was nominated among the UNICEF Youth Champion advocates in recognition of their efforts to make a difference in their societies. The aim is to inspire other young people to get up on their feet and be changemakers with an impact on their respective societies. Part of their mandate is to train and motivate other youth to take action and follow in their footsteps. Her message to the youth; ‘Do not dream and sit down. Take action and move forward.’ Gatsinzi believes the world has a million problems but there are a billion solutions when people think and act, especially when driven by passion. “Do not wait for many things to come, do not wait for millions to come. Follow your passion,” says Gatsinzi, who two months ago attended a training session in Nairobi, Kenya, to empower youth champions and prepare them to make a difference back home. There are many things one can do, not necessarily looking at children because everywhere you look there is a problem to solve. She was one of the 54 African youth selected to participate in the UNICEF programme, two of whom were from Rwanda. Gatsinzi believes young people have what it takes to change things because they are young, have fresh brains and the energy to get things done, but what they need is doing away with the fear that holds them back. Even if you try and fail, keep trying because through failure, you learn. That is her philosophy. “Failure is part of the journey. We learn from it,” she says, pointing out that when you fail, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and continue moving, she says calling on young people not to easily give up on their dreams because growth is a process. “I believe that as long as you are passionate about what you do, you cannot fail to get time for it.” I encourage other young people to follow their dreams no matter how impossible it may seem or where they come from. Remember you’re not alone and when you have a vision and the passion, it does not leave your head,” Gatsinzi says, urging on her age mates. From her Nairobi training which helped her see things from a global perspective, Gatsinzi is now looking to extend her vision to the African continent, having met many young people who shared common problems. She believes that for the African continent to achieve its development aspirations, young people need to think beyond the borders of their own countries because Africa needs to move at the same pace. “I met many amazing young people who inspired me to do a lot of things and I was really surprised to find that we share a similar vision and vision to build the Africa we want,” Gatsinzi says, elucidating more on what the future holds for her and many young people on the continent.