Ten years ago, Marie Ange Raissa Uwamungu was just a young lady living her life like any other. But something she was noticing in her neighborhood didn’t sit right with her. Now and then, she was hearing of a new story of a new teen mother; the numbers of teenage pregnancies were skyrocketing.
Uwamungu couldn’t wait any longer for a new teenage pregnancy; she embarked on a journey to solve that issue.
With no idea of where to begin, she decided to educate herself first through different leadership training sessions.
In what seemed like a solution to a single problem within a neighborhood, an organization by the name Impanuro Girls Initiative (IGI) was founded.
Currently, Uwamungu’s sense of responsibility to help her fellow neighbors is impacting many women and girls across the country.
Today, in line with the celebration of Women’s day, she reflects on the meaning of this day.
According to Uwamungu, the women’s day is both a reminder and a celebration of a woman’s endless potential as well as her strength.
“On this day, the world celebrates women’s power and strength and we are reminded that a woman is capable to achieve and accomplish a lot of great things,” she said.
As stated by IWD’s website, this year’s theme is “Choose to challenge” in that a challenged world is an alert world.
IGI’s founder considers this year’s theme as a wake-up call to keep up the fight against inequality.
“Today’s theme is a wake-up call to continuously emphasize that women and men get equal opportunities,” said Uwamungu.
As someone who challenged the status quo, she believes that if anyone needs change, she/he should choose to challenge.
“If we want to create the Rwanda we want, and a better future for the next generation, we need to change what is not working properly and we can only affect that change by choosing to challenge,” she noted.
We should also see more women leaders, she added, for it boosts young girls’ self-confidence and hopes to keep aiming higher.
Furthermore, she urges young girls to not allow their surroundings to lower their self-esteem but instead “keep fighting, for you are strong and even though it will not always be easy, with consistency, discipline and focus on the end goal, you will emerge victoriously.”
Impanuro Girls Initiative assists young girls and vulnerable women through education on various topics such as SRH, wellness, leadership, and many more as well as capacity building.