Cephas Nshimyumuremyi, a chemistry teacher, had just Frw2000 in his pocket. And that is all he needed to start his herbal jelly and soap company, Uburanga Products Ltd. The company has grown into a multi-million francs firm employing more than a dozen workers.
When he presented his idea for the GT Bank Entrepreneurship Award in 2014, the Educat, the financier couldn’t resist, but fall for the ingenious concept.
Meanwhile, Nshimyumuremyi never quit his calling. He has remained a great teacher and fights hard no matter the challenges he faces. With expereinces and experiments from his firm, he is able to offer invaluable lessons to his students. He is now more than a teacher, but an inspiration to many young Rwandans.
It did not take long and Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame learnt about him.
Together with nine other ‘young Rwandan change-makers’, as she calls them, through her charity, Imbuto Foundation, Jeannette Kagame honoured Nshimyumuremyi with an award during the the 5th edition of Celebrating Young Rwandan Achievers, on December 10.
“We strongly believe in supporting and helping young people to find the tools needed to truly become empowered,” she said.
Jeannette Kagame believes in positive reinforcement to encourage young people to shine in the activity of their choice. “We have seen this method yielding great results, sometimes more effectively than when providing them with a set of instructions on the path they should pursue.”
Since 2007, her charity has awarded close to 30 young professionals for using their boldness, curiosity and innovation to bring to life ideas that improved our society.
Those eligible for this year’s awards are young people who demonstrated vision, leadership qualities, excellence, creativity, initiative, integrity and positive values in their professions.
More importantly, they were awarded for inspiring and motivating other youths to reach their full potential.
For example, Kellya Uwiragiye’s recognition went beyond being emotional, but also thought provoking. From simply doing a school assignment, that slowly but very surely turned into a passion she took herself to task and learnt how to communicate using sign language.
An avid advocate for the underdog, she raised awareness and fought hard and she is for the large part responsible for the sign language addition to our national television.
There was a little twist though. Rwanda’s song bird Diana Teta was not among the most expected nominees, but her story, when told, unveiled the hidden and powerful potential in the young lady.
With a voice so distinct, yet a gentle reminder of some of Rwanda’s greatest artists, she is walking the path of the country’s cultural legends.
By consciously choosing to promote the Rwandan culture through her music, a responsibility she does not take lightly, she has been able to rise the ranks as a role model for young girls out there.
For sharing her music so softly yet ever so captivating but even more so for doing this with a bigger cause for her country.
After the awards, Sangu Delle, Founder and CEO of Golden Palm Investments, who was the guest speaker, had a few motivating words for the winners.
“Hard work, determination,” were among the key elements for the passwords to success from the young and successful Ghanaian businessman.
Above all, however, is ‘giving it a shot’ whenever an opportunity presents itself. But, he said, however successful one can be, especially young people, should resist the temptation of “loving” money as and goal.
“We can be philanthropic and show our live for humanity. I challenge you, young entrepreneurs of Africa, to ask yourselves what you have done for your communities, county, continent and the world. If your not satisfied with the answer, don’t sleep,” he said.
Delle, having experienced and witnessed a struggling youths in over 43 African countries he has traveled to, he believes Rwanda’s First Lady is doing more than a miracle to the Rwandan youths.
“This is exactly what the youths need,” he said.
The Minister of youth and ICT, Philbert Nsengimana said it’s a unique opportunity to work for and with the youth, because their passion, innovation and energy is an abundant source of motivation and their success a reason for celebration and satisfaction.
“Working with and for you little brothers and sisters, is a recipe for
remaining forever young,” he said. “We want to do more and better with you and moving forward, we look forward to joining forces even more – through shared Imihigo.”
For Nshimyumuremyi, recognition for his hummble effort to contribute to the development of his country is a priceless motivator. “I cant ask for more,” he said.
Brief bios of the winners
A young educator passionate about the arts figured there must be more to life than just accumulating. So armed with passion he went out looking for ways to give, and give big. Channeling all this energy into finding a solution for youth unemployment, he created a school- a first of its kind that aims to impart skills in the arts, multimedia and ICT. Today, it is a learning center for over 75 of Rwanda’ most precious resources- our youth. He was awarded for turning passion into tangible results and impacting the lives of many young Rwandans.
With a voice so distinct, yet a gentle reminder of some of Rwanda’s greatest artists- she is walking the path of our cultural legends. By consciously choosing to promote the Rwandan culture through her music, a responsibility she does not take lightly, she has been able to rise the ranks as a role model for young girls out there. She was awarded for sharing her music so softly yet ever so captivating but even more so for doing this with a bigger cause for her country and the youths.
With a giant leap of faith, she ventured into business- first with the comfort that it lets you do things your own way but responsible enough to know and acknowledge that a business exists to provide solutions. With the conviction that media reflects reality- Rwandans now get to wake up to the first ever morning show that creates a platform for Rwandans to learn about new businesses, products, but also a place to share Rwandan stories told by Rwandans. She was awarded for daring, venturing into a new field and succeeding.
From simply doing a school assignment, that slowly but very surely turned into a passion she took herself to task and learnt how to communicate using sign language. An avid advocate for the underdog, she raised awareness and fought hard and she is for the large part responsible for the sign language addition to our national television. Bridging the communication gap, and rooting for the underdog youths received recognition.
JEAN BOSCO NZEYIMANA
One man’s trash is truly another another’s treasure- this gentleman went green, or and sometimes brown- and started a business that contributes to the country’s effort of conserving and using environmentally friendly energy. He was awarded for his determination to illuminate, and innovative solution.
This teacher decided to turn his science class into a lesson for himself- and currently runs a whole line of cosmetics from soaps to creams using different kinds of herbs. His teacher self would not let him forget this being a learning opportunity for his students and every year he provides internships for students in 13 different schools of Musanze. His passion to teach and cater for the next generation was recognised.
Dr. ALICE NIRAGIRE
For this young lady, no dream is unattainable. And we are begin to suspect that this may just be the beginning of a long for her. Every day is a matter of life or death in her case, sleeves rolled up, she saves lives by cutting, sowing, replacing, healing, and comforting her patients. She was recognised for her compassion, resolve and being the first female surgeon in Rwanda.
A microfinance that serves the undeserved people especially youth and women. They have a special scheme for the youth and offers them savings, credits, financial education and leasing.
The firm was recognised for being risk takers, and going to the route most banks wouldn’t.
Without doubt, we all know that the heaviest burden always falls on the victims. But for this group of extraordinary young men and women pulled themselves by the bootstraps, hearts willing, flesh weak but the heart ever so willing and unrelentless. It took the famous 12 (commonly referred to les douze apotres) to set up a platform where they could form new families after having lost their own.
AERG was recognised for their resolve to live again, to stay together and to empower one another.
With the dream of reaching at least one school in every sector, these believers in the power of story telling can not begin to imagine their success so far. With a community library that receives over a dozen young visitors per day and reading and writing clubs in different schools these youth can not be stopped. They are the perfect example of imagination going loose for a cause. V was awarded for encouraging the power of imagination while acting.