By Odile Ntakiyimana
I come from Gicumbi, a rural area in Rwanda. My mother was a farmer. She supported me to go to school and complete high school. I did lots of small jobs too, like selling potatoes to earn money to pay for my school materials. Now I work as a journalist for Ni Nyampinga, Rwanda’s first teen brand, made by girls, for girls.
I always wanted to be a journalist. I always wanted to tell girls’ stories, ever since I read a piece in Ni Nyampinga that was about a 17 year-old girl whose Father had left her mother and re-married. Her story was my story. It meant so much to me to see someone who had gone through what I was facing. It made me feel like I wasn’t so alone, and had someone to look up to, to understand how they had gone on to achieve. I want to give other girls inspiration and role models they can look to.
The girls we write for, know us and look up to us. I like being a leader for other girls. It makes me feel proud and confident. It gave me the courage to run as a youth representative for the Village Council.
When someone is a leader, it means that she is able to take responsibility. It shows how mature she is. It also shows that you are able to both think for yourself while thinking for others. That’s important to me, to find ways to stand up for other girls’ interests.
My advice for other girls, who want to become leaders would be: don’t get overwhelmed, just get organised. I was working as a Ni Nyampinga journalist while also running for village representative and studying at the same time. You have to be good at managing your time and think ahead. And, don’t be scared by new things that are challenging. If you’re not pushing yourself, you’re not going to grow.
Ni Nyampinga is produced by The Girl Effect Rwanda.