Ornella Urutesi Rwanziza
As an only child growing up in Rwanda, Ornella was a silent and withdrawn little girl. Her mother taught her the importance of being grounded, believing in herself, and refusing to let society define her. When her mother passed away just after Ornella’s 15th birthday, she was motivated to make her proud. Her mother was her role model and helped her grow into the confident, devoted, and self-reliant woman she is today. Ornella is a recent graduate of Agahozo Shalom Youth Village (ASYV), a school for orphaned students, where she studied mathematics, economics and computer science on scholarship. In her four years at ASYV, Ornella was the President of the Debate Team, Communication & Advocacy Chief of her basketball team, and President & Chief Designer of Genesis of Creativity, a fashion design and decoration club. Ornella was also the Co-Founder and President of ASYV’s branch of Girl Up, a campaign that encourages girls to take action and stand up for girls in need. In 2016, Ornella was elected Minister of Education in ASYV’s student government. Ornella wants to become a policymaker and enact policies that will contribute to the economic growth and development of Rwanda. She currently lives with her Aunt and Uncle in a household of 15 people, including many relatives and many orphans. Ornella will join her SHE-CAN sisters at Muhlenberg College in fall 2018.