Former beauty queens join hands to empower society

Former Miss Rwanda Jolly Mutesi (standing-left) and current Miss Rwanda Naomie Nishimwe, provided 1000 faces masks in Nyarugunga Sector, Kicukiro District. / Courtesy photo

Former Miss Rwanda winners have started ‘Nyampinga Foundation’, a new platform through which they expect to join hands and come up with initiatives that will have a positive impact on society.

The foundation was initiated to empower women and youth with the right tools to help them get out of poverty, create income-generating businesses and care for their families.


The idea to create ‘Nyampinga Foundation’ was brought by US-based Rwandan Larry Muganwa, who has been working with non-profit organisations for similar causes.


Miss Rwanda 2015, Doriane Kundwa, the foundation’s communication director, told The New Times that the foundation was initiated to empower the community, most importantly women and youth, to be able to sustain a better life through its programmes.


“As people who share the same goal and vision of contributing to our community, we agreed that it would be better to work under an umbrella or an organisation in order to be able to conduct our projects smoothly, as well as put our efforts together for a clear vision for our future projects.

“Through the foundation, we hope to bring long-term projects on board that can impact our community and the country at large in a positive way,” Kundwa says.

The foundation will specifically tackle issues that vary from malnutrition, especially among children, fighting drug abuse among the youth, as well empowering women.

“We do have different projects coming up but are still in the planning stages. We will communicate more details once everything is in place,” she explains.

Union of beauty queens

So far, six of the former winners of the Miss Rwanda beauty contest since 2009 are part of the foundation.

They include Miss Rwanda 2009 - Grace Bahati, Miss Rwanda 2012 - Aurore Kayibanda Mutesi, Miss Rwanda 2014 - Colombe Akiwacu, Miss Rwanda 2015 - Doriane Kundwa, Miss Rwanda 2016 - Jolly Mutesi and recently crowned Miss Rwanda 2020 - Naomie Nishimwe.

Nishimwe and Mutesi, on behalf of the foundation, on Wednesday paid a visit and supported ex-combatants in Nyarugunga Sector, Kicukiro District, with 1000 face masks to help in the prevention of the spread of Coronavirus pandemic.

Kundwa explains that Miss Rwanda 2017 - Elsa Iradukunda, Miss Rwanda 2018 - Liliane Iradukunda and Miss Rwanda 2019 - Meghan Nimwiza could not join the foundation because “the timing and other commitments prevented them from being a part of it.” However, she says, they are welcome to join once ready.

Kundwa says that bringing the pageant winners together will be of impact to communities and the nation in general since they have various ideas that can make a difference.

“Each one of the ladies is determined to use their platform, influence and resources to the maximum for the progression and growth of the foundation, as well as all the projects that will be conducted through this foundation,” Kundwa says.

Though the foundation has brought together former winners of the Miss Rwanda contest since 2009, Kundwa insists the foundation has no connection to the pageant’s organisers.

Although being crowned Miss Rwanda is an added value, Kundwa says people who wish to be part of ‘Nyampinga Foundation’ will need to send in an application for the team in charge to review it and make a decision.

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