Empower women in Africa through higher education!

by These Numbers Have Faces
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Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Empower women in Africa through higher education!
Ange
Ange

These Numbers Have Faces believes strongly women are the secret weapon to fighting poverty. We work hard to make sure that at least half of the students in our University Leadership Program are women. Currently, 57% of our students are female. These young women are poised to lead their communites and countries to a new era of peace and prosperity. Through access to a university education, Leadership Development Workshops, entrepreneurship opportunities, and our women’s mentorship program, we empower Africa’s brightest young women to cultivate thriving communities. We also recognize that, if we are working to empower strong female leaders in a culture where gender roles remain very traditional, we must also work with the young men to learn how to work well with and alongside strong, empowered women.

To be sure, the COVID pandemic continued to create significant challenges for our students. We continued to emphasize those four key words that had come to mean so much: patience, persistence, flexibility, and resilience. Thankfully, in spite of the challenges, this past academic year, we were able to facilitate ten monthly Leadership Development Workshops, along with all four of our quarterly Women's Empowerment Workshops and our four quarterly workshops for the men in our program. Most of these workshops we were able to offer in person, but some of them we had to facilitate via Zoom because of on-going or renewed COVID restrictions. One of the biggest challenges this past year has been COVID's impact on the academic year. At best, some universities are a semester behind, with the academic year beginning in March and ending in February. But for many of our students, their academic years have become even more fluid, beginning in perhaps April or May and ending perhaps in March or April. So graduation has shifted from the traditional June to sometime between February and May. But thankfully, all of the young women in our program who were supposed to graduate this year are indeed graduating. And all of the other women in our program have completed or are completing their final exams successfully. Some have started their new academic year. Others will have to wait a bit longer to start. But all are doing well! We are so proud of them. No matter what the challenges have been, they have found ways to overcome them and keep moving forward toward their dreams!

Ange was one of our new students in 2021. She is studying medicine and is scheduled to graduate in 2023. Ange said:

"'You must have a vision' is a statement left unsaid in every one of our monthly leadership training sessions. This message, constantly vibrating in my ears, has shaped me into a better servant leader. Right now it is my privilege to serve as the Director of the Standing Committee on Human Rights and Peace in MEDSAR (Medical Students' Association of Rwanda). It is my responsibility to communicate our vision well and to use that vision to create and implement meaningful projects that truly make a difference in our communities. This word -- "vision" -- not only helps me perform well as Director of this committee, but it has also impacted the decisions I make in my daily life. This past year, COVID-19 certainly blurred my sight to the future, but I learned from our These Numbers Have Faces monthly trainers that the path to success isn't always straight. So I decided to cling to my vision of becoming a medical doctor, despite all of the challenges. I am committed to making the best of every opportunity granted to me to reach my goal."

Ange is just one example of what's been happening in the lives of the young women in our Women's Empowerment Initiative. We are so thankful for their patience, flexibilty, resilience, and especially their passionate persistence! Thank you for helping all of these amazing young women make their dreams a reality!

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Bridget
Bridget

These Numbers Have Faces believes strongly women are the secret weapon to fighting poverty. Today, young women in Africa are poised to lead the continent to a new era of peace and prosperity. Through access to a university education, Leadership Development Workshops, entrepreneurship opportunities, and our women’s mentorship program, we empower Africa’s brightest young women to cultivate thriving communities. We also recognize that, if we are working to empower strong female leaders in a culture where gender roles remain very traditional, we must also work with the young men to learn how to work well with and alongside strong, empowered women.

Without a doubt, the COVID pandemic created unprecendented challenges for our students. Rwanda shut down in March, 2020, much like in the United States. The universities closed and our students were sent back to their home villages. We had to pause our programs and wait. Then we got word that several of our students and their families were really struggliing with food insecurity. So, we provided 22 families with much-needed food. We also used this time to stay in close contact with our students and their families, supprting their emotional needs as well. We continued to emphasize over and over again for key words: patience, persistence, flexibility, and resilience. Thankfully, the univerisities reopened in October, 2020 and we were able to resume our programs, including our Women's Empowerment Program. When we have not been able to offer our workshops in person, we have learned how to offer them via Zoom. All of the young women in our program successfully completed their courses and exams for the 2019/2020 academic year, which didn't end until February, 2021. All of the young women in our program are now in the middle of the the 2020/2021 academic year and doing well. They have dealt with and overcome so many challenges, including all of the COVID-caused challenges.

We asked several of the young women in our program to share what they've learned during this time of pandemic challenge. Their stories of passionate persistence are truly inspiring. Here is Bridget's story:

My name is Bridget. I’m in my first year of studying finance at the University of Rwanda. I’m passionate about helping and supporting people of different age levels. My long-term goal is to impact people’s lives by employing as many people as I can to help them be successful, too.

I was raised by a single mother. She worked hard to be both mother and father. But sometimes the challenges were just too hard. My mother was often unemployed. There just weren’t many jobs available. Sometimes she couldn’t feed us every day. Sometimes she couldn’t pay my school fees. Life at times was just so bitter and harsh. But my mother always kept fighting for us, fighting to make things better. I saw my Mom’s passionate persistence, which made a big difference in my life. The challenges of my childhood are still stacked in my mind today. My experiences growing up have made passionate persistence very important to me. My passion and persistence push me to make my dreams come true and to help others make their dreams come true as well. I’ve been able to raise funds to pay the school fees for kids who face the same challenges I faced growing up. I’ve also helped them buy school materials and other small daily amenities. Also, during the COVID lockdown when we were all home from school, I managed to be a coach for the primary students in my neighborhood, helping them with their studies and supporting them with Gospel stories and songs. This is my mission. And I just couldn’t stop – not even in this time of COVID. As they say, “quitters never win and winners never quit.” I am passionately persistent about supporting people to help them be their best.

I am so thankful to These Numbers Have Faces. They are making it possible for me to make my dreams a reality. What I am learning in our Leadership Development Workshops I then share with those in my neighborhood. I was already someone who was self-motivated, who loves to set goals and accomplish them. These Numbers Have Faces has only made this even more true. I surely don’t want to quit until I have reached the best result I can dream of!

Bridget's story is just one example of what's been happening in the lives of the young women in our Women's Empowerment Initiative. We are so thankful for their patience, flexibilty, resilience, and especially their passionate persistence! Thank you for helping all of these amazing young women make their dreams a reality!

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Bridget
Bridget

Bridget is one of the 27 new students to join our University Leadership Program this March. Our students, like Bridget, have already overcome so many challenges before they enter our program. We are excited to introduce you to these new students and share their stories of resilience!

Bridget is the third born out of seven children. She was born and raised in Uganda up to age six. She lived there with her parents and siblings until their father died. Life became more challenging and complicated because her mother had no job, which made surviving and obtaining an education difficult. This forced her mother to bring Bridget to Rwanda’s Nyagatare district, where she stayed with her grandparents. They helped pay her school fees, although it was not easy for them. Through her grandparents' help, Bridget managed to finish her primary and high school with good grades.

Bridget grew up in a community with its share of effects from the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda and the community was still working hard to get back on their feet, building unity and reconciliation. Christianity is the common religion in Rwanda and has helped Rwandan communities by offering counseling in churches. Bridget had an opportunity to attend various boarding schools, and she met lots of people. In her school, they said, "Appreciate diversity and look for how each one has a role to play in society.” Bridget has held various leadership positions, which have instilled in her the ability to manage time well and to coordinate with others.

Bridget’s dream is to become a successful female entrepreneur who will give young people jobs, training and equipping them with the skills that will enable them to become successful entrepreneurs themselves, thereby making her community a better place. She hopes this will be the result of studying Finance at the university.

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Candide
Candide

"My name is Candide. I'm studying Civil Engineering at University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology. My dream is to be a responsible, qualified engineer who serves and impacts my community!"

"Hello! My name is Marie-Patience. I am studying Information Technology at University of Rwanda. My dream is to contribute to the sustainable development of my country’s burgeoning Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) sector. I hope that university studies will equip me with theoretical and practical skills to contribute to my country's sustainable ICT sector development."

 

We want to share the dreams of these 2 women with you to highlight how our program is empowering women to break into male dominated fields like engineering and tech! We are so inspired by their dreams and we hope you are too!

To get to know Candide and Marie-Patience better, check out the links to their pages, which have biography and journey logs. 

We also shared our student's dreams throughout the month of December, so you can scroll through our social media feeds to catch up on those stories and dreams! 

Marie-Patience
Marie-Patience

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Jessica
Jessica

Jessica, one of the brilliant women in our University Leadership Program, took a short video to share her experience working on the frontlines of Rwanda's COVID-19 response team. We are excited to share this video with you. Jessica shares both her personal experience and what she is learning through this pandemic. See the link below to watch her video. We have also shared a link to Jessica's bio and Journey Log while in our program, so you can get to know her better!

By supporting this project, you are partnering with bright young women, like Jessica, as they pursue their education and practice their leadership skills. Your partnership impacts the women in our program, who in turn impact their communities! Thank you so much for your support!

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Organization Information

These Numbers Have Faces

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @thesenumbers
Project Leader:
Jim Pressnell
Portland, OR United States
$12,728 raised of $20,000 goal
 
204 donations
$7,272 to go
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