Young girls challenged to believe in themselves

Women leaders pose a group photo with young girls from seven schools. Frederic Byumvuhore.

A group of 72 young girls were on Saturday challenged to believe in themselves and seize the opportunity presented by the current national leadership to make an impact in their communities.

This was during a one- day workshop organised by the duo of Keren Neza and Cynthia Mulindi, the founders of 4her, an initiative that aims to build a network of young girls to inspire and empower them so as they impact the community and country’s development.


Keren Neza and Cynthia Mulindi are graduates from New York University Abu Dhabi. The former did Economics and Mathematics while the latter did Economics.


The workshop was held on Saturday at Riviera High School and brought together students from seven secondary schools.


Women leaders who inspired the young girls included Sports and Culture Minister Julienne Uwacu,  Dr. Christine Gasingirwa, Director General of the science, technology and research at Ministry of Education, and Marie Immacullee Ingabire, Chairperson of Transparency International Rwanda.

Others are Hope Azeda, the Founder of Mashirika, Dr. Kathy Kantegwa, the Coordinator of FAWE, Grace Rwakarema, Assistant Auditor General and Sandrine Umutoni, Imbuto Foundation CEO.

During the morning hours the mentees were engaged in different topics such as goal-setting and self-compassion, stereotypes on leadership among females, among other leadership-related topics.

The afternoon hours, the girls had a group mentorship session with women leaders where they asked questions about how the leaders had overcome stereotypes to become leaders in their respective areas of expertise.

Marie Therese Kunda, a senior five student at Gashora Girls School, had a question for Dr. Kathy Kantengwa the founder of FAWE Rwanda.

“How did you come up with the idea of improving girls’ education when most of the families didn’t understand the reason why girls deserve to attend school?” the student asked.

Kantengwa replied that she was determined and it did not at any particular point think of giving up.

“I never got discouraged by the circumstances. When you want something go for it.”

Interacting with the girls, Minister Uwacu told them to believe in themselves and dare to use their potentials.

“Young people should know the opportunity that the country has created for them,” she said, urging them that the most important step in life is daring to dream, and dreaming big.

According to Keren Neza, one of the initiators said that they have been involving in the same initiative in New York until they got inspired to initiate it to their homeland since it had been fruitful.

Girls speak

“I have learnt that being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean being in public service. We are all leaders of our lives,” said Kunda, adding that she will pass on the knowledge gained at the workshop to her colleagues back at school.


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