Gospel artiste Gakunzi brings youth aid to Rwanda

Willy Makuza Gakunzi is a worship leader, songwriter and founder of Heart of Worship in Action Foundation. Courtesy

Canada-based Rwandan worship leader and songwriter, Willy Makuza Gakunzi, has for years been engaging youth and people around him to participate in life-changing actions.

Mid last year, he founded Heart of Worship in Action Foundation in Canada after his wife passed away, as a way of keeping her memory. 

The father of two daughters and certified Functional Business Architect, recently launched the foundation in Rwanda, to continue the projects that he and his wife started. 

He talked to Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa about the impact that he hopes the foundation will have on the less privileged.

Tell us more about the foundation and what it does.

The foundation has three main pillars. The first pillar is youth empowerment through skills development, networking and leadership and funding their initiatives. 

The second pillar is supporting the less fortunate people in our communities which includes victims of sexual abuse, orphans and widows. The third pillar is the Worship Conference in Action where we will be organising conferences every year, bring in experts in different domains to provide training in workshops but conclude the event with a worship concert graced by artistes from around the globe and Rwanda. 

The yields of that conference go back to the operational activities to help fund the organisation.

Will the funds only target Christians?

It is Christian faith-based but we don’t fund Christians only. We want to change the narrative of international aid because it is founded by Rwandans. We want to help people do whatever they want to be doing. 

Once we go through the selection process, we go hands-free and we try to minimize the operational costs so that whatever we have as funds should help the beneficiaries and help the communities.

What inspired you to bring the organisation home?

Our origin, first of all, is the biggest factor, but also the objectives and the focus of the target are in line with what the Rwandan policies are. 

Rwanda’s majority population is the youth so focusing on empowering them is a contribution to the development and advancement of the Rwandan economy. 

Secondly, given the history of Rwanda and the tragedy that sexual abuse can have on the victims is huge, it impacts the social and economic aspect of the person. 

The foundation’s contribution can make a small impact on these people. For now, our main focus is on Rwanda although we hope to focus on different countries.

What progress has the organisation made so far?

It is just six months since we started operations in Canada, although we had people in Rwanda we were supporting even if we didn’t have paperwork. Sector leaders help us identify those in need and we come up with a plan. 

So far we have a rape victim we are helping as well as other two other families. 

The way we disburse the funds, we want to make it open and transparent, which is why we displayed the funding process during the launch.

Have you encountered any challenges in your organisation so far?

It is too early for challenges but also having been abroad for more than 16 years, the way things work is not exactly the same, although I have seen Rwanda make a lot of improvement. 

I registered for the Legal personality certificate with Rwanda Governance Board who sped up the process and that has been of great help. 

The only challenge we’ve had so far is in helping one of our beneficiaries, a rape victim because of her health, she has not been able to work fulltime and grow her business. We, however, keep helping and encourage her to work as long as she is breathing.


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