Entrepreneurs End Poverty

by These Numbers Have Faces
Entrepreneurs End Poverty
Entrepreneurs End Poverty
Entrepreneurs End Poverty
Entrepreneurs End Poverty
Entrepreneurs End Poverty
Entrepreneurs End Poverty
Yvette Posing with Two Investors
Yvette Posing with Two Investors

After 8 months of training and mentorship through The Accelerate Academy, the first class of Accelerate Fellows gathered together for a full day of training and celebration. 12 of the top Fellows presented their businesses to a panel of international investors for the Pitch Finale, and 11 of them secured investments! These entrepreneurs have businesses ranging from chicken farming, to clean water delivery, to mobile phone bus ticket apps. 

Beyond the loans that will drastically elevate these businesses, the relationships with their new partners will grow the Accelerate Fellows in ways that show them they have potential; they were meant to be leaders; they are part of Rwanda's rising economy.

A star from our finale was our youngest fellow, Yvette, who recently started the IRIBA water project. Her water project ‘IRIBA water’ which locally translates into ‘a clean water source’ aims at providing clean water solutions to people living in rural areas of Rwanda.

When Yvette’s family relocated to the small community of Kayonza, she realized that access to water was a true challenge for many people. Not only were water sources miles away, but even the cost of water was unattainable for many.

“Twenty liters would cost Rwf500 or even higher. That made me think a lot about finding solutions to this problem. Water was already available from the sources such as springs and lakes but I made more research on making it both safe and affordable for people,” she explains.

IRIBA Water Project collects water, treats it with a UV purifier, and distributes it to households throughout Kayonza using bicycles. Currently Yvette supplies safe and clean water to 100 households on a daily basis, but with this new investment she plans to expand operations to serve at least 300,000 homes each day.

Thanks to your support and your investment in the Accelerate Academy Rwanda’s infrastructure and economy are changing from the ground up. Community needs are being met, individuals are gaining employment, and young people are empowered to fulfill their dreams of running a business.

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Accelerate Fellow, Arnold with his Grandmother
Accelerate Fellow, Arnold with his Grandmother

Arnold was just a young boy when his father died. He has no memories of him - just photos.

Soon after his father’s death, Arnold’s mom left to find work and he moved in with his grandmother. Even though Arnold felt the loss of his father, and the distance from his mother, he says his grandmother's love and care has made a lasting impact on his life.

“My grandma is my joy because she raised me. All the things I have, what I am, the discipline - I attribute it to her. I can’t imagine me without her.”

Arnold’s grandmother worked hard and made sacrifices for Arnold’s education. Her dream was - and still is - that her grandson would one day graduate from university and pursue a career that matters.

Outside of classes, Arnold was always learning new things from his uncle, who studied Information Technology at university. Arnold remembers being fascinated by how his uncle could use computer applications to solve problems and make life easier. From the example of his uncle and grandmother, Arnold became determined to go to university and study IT in hopes of learning a skill that would help his people rise.

Arnold was accepted to the National University of Rwanda, and with a Leadership Loan from These Numbers Have Faces, in September 2015 he graduated with a degree in Computer Science. His dream is to create mobile apps for Rwanda's increasing technology-based economy.

When Tina, These Numbers Have Faces' International Programs Director, heard from Arnold about his story and his amazing grandmother, Tina knew she had to meet her, so Arnold arranged a visit.

But Tina also had ulterior motives for her visit that day.

Standing between Arnold and his grandmother, Tina told them they were filming a thank you video for These Numbers Have Faces supporters. Then, she turned to Arnold and told him that he had been selected for a prestigious summer internship at Amazon Lab126 in San Francisco! Arnold burst out laughing, turning to his grandmother to translate the news. 

A few months later, Arnold was US-bound, the beginning of a life-changing journey - one that would increase his IT abilities, and also surround him with those who have made successful careers in computer science. These were the professional role models and mentors he had been waiting for.

When Arnold returned to Rwanda, he was selected as one of 100 young entrepreneurs to take part in These Numbers Have Faces' Accelerate Summit. After the three-day intensive summit where Arnold met and worked with top American and Rwandan business leaders, Arnold was chosen to be in the first class of Accelerate Academy Fellows! As one of 27 young entrepreneurs, this year Arnold will receive business training, mentorship, and seed capital to help make his business plans a reality. 

While it's only the beginning of his year as an Accelerate Fellow, Arnold is already beginning to build a mobile platform. Arnold was asked to share his new Conference Management app at Transform Africa 2015, a conference by the President of Rwanda, brining together the country's top web innovators!

After such a pivotal year, Arnold maintains to live by his favorite quote:

Try to be a person of value rather than a person of success.

“I believe by impacting others you end up being successful and you have a life worth living," Arnold said. "I hope to use my skills to impact my society by developing softwares and applications to change peoples lives, especially in Rwanda.”

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Alice, These Numbers Have Faces scholar
Alice, These Numbers Have Faces scholar
This summer, five of our scholars were invited to attend the Africa Youth Leadership Forum (AYLF) in DR Congo! AYLF is an organization that aims to nurture the next generation of African leaders through trainings on leadership qualities, values and principles. This year's theme was "Leadership and Relationship - Peace and Reconciliation." 

The event had a big impact on our students. For one, however, her greatest takeaway was a renewed sense of hope.

For, Alice, one of our electrical engineering scholars in Rwanda, it was her first time back to DR Congo since her family fled due to conflict 18 years ago.
 
At first, Alice said her family was worried about her going to the conference, still scarred by the trauma of the past. But they also sensed this was an opportunity for Alice to return to her home as a rising young leader with the potential to bring positive change there in the future.

When Alice arrived to DR Congo, she was struck by the range of people who surrounded her -- youth who, like herself, were striving for higher excellence, who were choosing to pursue their education, and use their voice to speak about freedom, peace and justice.

Listening to the main speakers, and during discussion groups with fellow attendees, the message was clear to Alice: to be an effective leader, you need to be proactive, accept change with integrity, and make sacrifices to serve others.

"We have to see the invisible to believe the incredible," Alice said. "Sometimes it will seem impossible, but we must do it to serve our community. From my side, I have chosen to be a servant leader. I now have hope that one day I will return to my home and empower my country."

Alice was able to attend the Africa Youth Leadership Forum in DR Congo thanks to the supporters of These Numbers Have Faces - thanks to you!
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Organization Information

These Numbers Have Faces

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @thesenumbers
Project Leader:
Amanda Weir
Portland, OR United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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