With the pandemic that resulted in the closure of schools, students required something to keep them busy at home while learning—but not just classwork. In light of this, Solange Impanoyimana, the co-founder and executive director of Generation Rise, an NGO that inspires young women to unleash their passion and pursue their dreams, supported a programme to encourage girls to read and write. This was through a writing competition, during which girls shared stories and improved their writing skills. The programme involved 60 girls from Gahanga and Kabuga high schools. Impanoyimana says that through her new magazine titled “The Switch”, girls share stories on how they went through life during the Covid-19 lockdown, and the lessons learned. They also opened up about topics that are rarely discussed. “In this pandemic period, we wanted to know how girls and young women were able to cope with the lockdown brought about by Covid-19. Girls in the programme shared stories of perseverance and resilience,” Impanoyimana says. Ruth Nyirahavugimana, a student at G.S Gahanga, says that hunger was the order of the day with her family during the lockdown as her parents’ businesses were severely affected, yet the family survived on that. She explains that spending some days without food were very difficult, and if it wasn’t for the government providing food, they could’ve died of hunger. Nyirahavugimana made herself useful through harvesting different crops as a way to earn money, which enabled her to pay school fees and buy some clothes. “I saved what was left of the money that I earned for future use and also invested in rearing hens. I have learned the value of hard work and investing in my future, and hope to be a millionaire in the future,” she says. Fabienne Izere, a student at G.S Gahanga, says that her family struggled financially as they lacked the money to take them through the lockdown. Through small savings, she bought a goat that she planned on selling in order to get more money to start a business. “Beyond the disruption of education in the lockdown, my family wasn’t able to feed as we did normally. My parents struggled to find food until the lockdown was over,” says Jacqueline Nyirahabimana, a student at G.S Kabuga Catholic. Odile Nyiramugisha, a student at G.S Kabuga, used the lockdown to ask her parents about confusing topics. They educated her about sexual reproductive health, the reproductive system, and this knowledge enabled her abstain from sex, hence preventing early pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. She notes that this was an important topic to discuss with her parents freely. Unfortunately, some of her classmates dropped out of school due to early pregnancies. ‘Generation Rise’ uses literature to empower girls and women to ask questions and voice their opinions on issues that determine their future and the future of their communities. The NGO works with different schools and girls in their programme who get trained in public speaking, goal setting, writing competitions so as to boost their confidence and self-esteem.