Summer 2015 has been a fantastic time for my career growth in between my semesters at Bennington College. I’m currently working with Kountable, a company that was introduced to me by Open A Door Foundation. Kountable is an IT company focusing on financing Rwandan entrepreneurs with tenders. My role in Kountable has been specifically focusing on assessing the impact of social capital and identifying the challenges faced by the clients in the growth of their businesses.
As an individual who is studying political economy and conflict resolution, working with Kountable has broadened my career development; it has expanded my skills in the financial and innovation area. Through Kountable I have been able to acknowledge the economic growth that is currently booming in Rwanda and the significance of investing in entrepreneurs.
The integration of my academic plan and summer internship is providing me with a rich understanding, and helps me identify the interconnectedness that exists among disciplines and working experiences. I’m looking forward to learning more during the next month and a half of my internship.
We were fortunate to be part of the 2015 Summer Global Youth Connect (GYC) conference in Rwanda. We were thrilled to be a part of this experience mainly because of the knowledge we learned from the curriculum and our peers. By attracting students from around the globe, GYC provided a diverse environment that fostered intercultural interaction. This helped us analyze how different people look at situations and may react differently to various situations.
GYC is an NGO focused on teaching youths about human rights studies. The organization aims to raise awareness, take action and work collaboratively on projects to promote and defend human rights. By talking about complex issues we were encouraged to solve problems and share opinions with people from vastly different backgrounds. These educational conferences take place bi-annually in post conflict countries and are designed to foster student leaders on the topic of human rights.
The most interesting part of the experience was the in-person visits to a Batwa village, refugee camp, reconciliation village and various government ministries. These experiences served as an eye opener for how once-conflicted groups can begin to interact again in a healthy manner. I have been very moved by how far my country has come since it was destroyed in 1994. Exposure to these experiences reminds me that I have power to take part in building my country!
Following my sophomore year, I received an amazing opportunity to attend the LeaderShape summer program. I learned leadership skills and how to create relationships and interact with faculty members. The weeklong Lehigh program introduced me to other like-minded Lehigh students. Each day had its own theme where we learned and discussed various leadership topics and created skits to reflect the theme.
Team building exercises were abundant at LeaderShape. Activities called ‘Balloon Castles’ and ‘Chaos and Change’ were intended to help us develop our communication teamwork skills. These were complimented with outdoor activities, such as a rope course challenge that built confidence and trust.
One lesson that stood out to me was the “Challenging What Is, Looking to What Could Be” theme that ran throughout the program. This theme challenged me to view situations from as many different angles as possible. It taught me that we sometimes get caught in the daily routine of solving problems and forget to bring a new perspective to the issue we are facing.
I am so thankful to have taken part in this amazing program. Moving forward, I know that I will be an even stronger person and leader in my community!
The 2015 spring semester was quite a rewarding one for me. I was well prepared to begin the semester thanks to a wonderful month-long stay with my beloved OAD mentors who kindly welcomed me in their homes cared for me as their own. With them I relaxed from the stress of the previous semester and received the encouragement I needed to get prepare for another.
The prior semester had been very challenging for me. During my first semester at Arizona State University, I took several challenging class in math and English. It was intimidating getting used to the whole new experience of studying abroad during my first semester.
By the end of my second semester, however, it felt like I had finally adjusted to the new cultures and systems. This transition helped me feel confident entering the spring semester, even excited! I wanted to see what improvements I had made and how friends and school would change. My second semester transition was much smoother, not because it was easier, but because I was better equipped to handle the workload.
The spring semester was a semester in which I took a little more challenging classes, I was applying for a professional internship back in Rwanda for the summer and I had to prepare a proposal to submit for my scholarship program to sponsor my summer plans. Not only did I excel in my academics, but I also secured an internship at the Rwanda Development Board in the Exports and Business Development Department for the next two months. I know now that with a little hard-work, support from my amazing mentors, and experience under my belt that I can overcome any challenges and succeed!
During this last Spring Semester, Sheilla and I organized series of three events leading to the commemoration of the Tutsi Genocide at Lehigh. With the help of the African Caribbean Culture Club (ACCC), Global Union and Leadership Lehigh, we were able to successfully execute all the three events.
The first event was “Rwanda, Zambia and Botswana Culture Night” where we collaborated with friends from the respective countries to present about our countries history. This main purpose of this culture night was to prepare the audience for the next two events.
The second event was the screening of the movie “Sometimes in April”. The audience got to learn more about the Tutsi Genocide and its consequences. Afterwards, we had a discussion led by Professor Essien, one of the professors in the African Studies Department, where he explained more about Rwandan history.
The last event of this series was the commemoration of the Tutsi Genocide where we had a Walk To Remember, poems, and candle lighting. Sheilla recited a poem and I gave a speech about why it is important to remember. At the end, all participants lit candles and shared why they think we should remember.
Read stories written by our talented scholars and multiple voices across the SHE-CAN network