Sixteen-year old Yvette Rucyahana is a student at Lycee de Kigali offering Mathematics, Physics and Computer and is currently in Senior Five. She is already exploring a business venture that she intends to start.
She is one of 1,200 academically promising girls from poor families who are currently benefiting from a comprehensive scholarship package that include school fees, scholastic materials as well as monthly stipend of Rwf15,000 provided by MasterCard Foundation through the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Rwanda Chapter.
All beneficiaries are currently gathered at a four-day scholars’ mentoring conference in Kigali.
As part of education provided to them, saving culture is one of the lessons they acquire.
Rucyahana has already started the saving scheme where she opened a fixed account on which she deposits the monthly stipend with hope of investing it in an income generating project.
“I opened a fixed account and I earn interest on my deposit and I am waiting for it to accumulate so that I can start my small enterprise. We also spend part of stipend on supporting other disadvantaged students or people in communities around school,” she said.
She wants to use the money to roll out a mobile application that she has already developed dubbed “KEETECH”, which intends to use technology to keep the environment green.
“The application aims at helping solid and plastic waste recycling factories, regulatory agencies such as RURA, garbage collectors and other stakeholders to work with community to handle waste.
If a person has such waste, they will use the application to explore factories registered under the app to negotiate how they can supply such waste to the factory which can even pay them,” she explained.
Her app recently won a national award and she is expected to showcase it in Kenya and late USA with support of MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme.
Grace Happy, the Director of Finance and Administration at Gender Monitoring Office (GMO) advised the girls to continue nurturing the saving culture so that they start small enterprises as well as preventing any vice they would lead them into early pregnancies.
Generation of trans-formative leaders
According to Eugenie Mukanoheri, the National Coordinator of FAWE Rwanda, the girls from economically disadvantaged households will in the four days be trained in various ways to mold them into transformative leaders.
The tips include managing finances for accountability, giving back to the community as passion, healthy and lifestyle choices for healthy living (managing peer pressure, developing self-esteem), achieving academic success, leading by example for a positive change taking into consideration leadership ethics and integrity, teaching as a professional as well as future through TVET.
She said it is under the five years scholarship programme which helps girls to at least complete secondary schools, address their economic challenges, and train them on leadership and networking to ease their transition to university life.
“We target that at least 70 per cent of then also get university scholarship and that is why we teach them how to apply for scholarship support and inspire them to reach the dreams and ambitions,” she said.
The conference brought together 511 girls of the 3rd Cohort and 17 teacher mentors with leadership and life skills to enable them complete quality secondary education and make a successful transition to further their education or careers.