Helping Hand Foundation
Scholars committed to changing lives in their communities by financially supporting teen mothers in different parts of the country through job creation; improving literacy by creating opportunities for education; encouraging project-driven saving by establishing savings accounts for beneficiaries; and improving entrepreneurial literacy through conducting a series of seminars on the processes of business creation and best practices.
Scholars based in Kigali carried out their project in Nyamirambo at the Gisimba After School Program. They bonded with the children through an art class and played icebreaker games, with the purpose of sharing the joy of the festive season with the children. In addition to sharing food, drinks, and music, they provided hygiene materials such as toiletries and distributed articles of clothing to those in attendance.
In Rwamagana, Scholars worked with the Executive Secretary of the Rubona sector, bringing together 60 teen mothers aged 16-21. While there, they held a seminar with the teen mothers about improving their livelihoods and provided them with hygienic items and nutritious meals, including flour for porridge, and clothes for their children. Working with the local government officials eased the process and helped the Scholars reach out to more people.
Scholars in Huye District in the Southern Province did two projects in two different sectors – Ngoma and Tumba. In Ngoma sector, Scholars visited patients at Kabutare Hospital and provided them with hygienic materials such as toiletries and sanitary pads. In Tumba sector, Scholars gathered children living on the street and celebrated the start of the year with them. Scholars gave out books to help all children in attendance acquire basic knowledge in reading and writing. The main objective was to instill hope among the children that they still have the opportunity to learn and go back to school.
Let Them Talk Club
Isomo Scholar, Anne Marie Monique Dusangeyezu, founded the Let Them Talk club, which aims at helping girls find their voice in the community. With the help of club members and life coaches, she collected funds that helped support children and women living in marginalized communities
Wani Lokulang is a B2R Fellow from South Sudan who received a degree in Film and New Media from New York University Abu Dhabi. As a film director, Wani has written, directed, and edited more than six short films of his own and has gained extensive experience as an assistant director, editor, cinematographer, sound mixer, gaffer, and production assistant for multiple film projects.
He is the Founder & CEO of Soulmate Media, a South Sudanese media and public relations firm dealing in media consultancy, narrative film & documentary production, advertisement, promotion and publicity, photography, graphic design, web design and printing. He is also the Founder & Executive Director of Impact Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes peaceful co-existence, sustainable and impactful relief, and developmental projects that empower different communities in South Sudan. Read more about Wani’s work and filmography.
Wani has worked for the Equator Broadcasting Cooperation as an editor and successfully executed projects for Voice of America, United Nations Populations Fund South Sudan (UNFPA South Sudan), United Nations Development Project South Sudan (UNDP South Sudan), Finn Church Aid (Aid), CORDAID, Welthungerhilfe, Nonviolent Peace Force, and many other international and national organizations.
In 2022, Wani produced an educational film titled Temporary? — a short docu-fiction film that weaves the personal experiences of those who are victims of rape into a collective story of surviving rape and finding healing in South Sudan.
The film portrays the mental, emotional, and physical pains that victims of rape feel and how those pains affect them. Further, the film echoes the grieving voices of the victims of GBV and calls for families and society at large to be more supportive of victims of GBV.
The film, which was made with support from UNFPA, has since sparked a conversation about gender-based violence in South Sudan and caught the attention of South Sudan’s National Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, which is working hard to address the issues raised in the film.
This month, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced Kigali as one of 15 cities selected as winners of the Global Mayors Challenge, awarded to cities tackling major challenges through innovative solutions. Each city will receive $1 million dollars and support to help elevate and spread their promising ideas.
We would like to congratulate B2R Board Member and Rwanda’s Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Innovation & ICT, Yves Iradukunda, for his role in Kigali’s submission to Bloomberg Philanthropies this year. Learn more about Rwanda’s innovative solutions to improving sanitation and water quality.
As a partner of The BRIDGE, Vanguard Economics has employed several job candidates, including B2R Fellow, Magnifique Mukundwa, who graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Environmental Health Engineering and Entrepreneurship in 2020. Check out the video to hear more about her experience working as a Data Analyst and how Vanguard is maximizing the impact that private sector development, trade & logistics, and commercialized agriculture can have on markets and populations across Africa.
“What I love most about my job is that it challenges me. As an analyst, you work on many different things — sometimes things you have never seen before. Every day presents a new challenge. I also love the learning environment at Vanguard. This company makes sure that you are learning from day one. They invest in your professional development to ensure that you are actually equipped to do the work that they want you to do.”Magnifique Mukundwa, Data Analyst, Vanguard Economics
Isomo Academy’s Pioneer Bootcamp is Complete!
The 8-week residential program concluded at the end of September and the results were truly transformational
The pioneer class of 120 Scholars embraced the challenges and exceeded expectations. They made significant strides in academic growth, personal development, and empowering one another. We are proud of the achievements made by each Scholar and look forward to working with them as they return to their high schools this year.
During Isomo Academy, Scholars had daily classes in Writing, Language Labs, Guided Reading, and Discussion Seminars. They were also introduced to new online learning tools, like IXL and CommonLit, which allowed them to immerse themselves in the writing process and sharpen their language and grammar skills.
Through IXL, students worked at their own pace to master different language skills, such as vocabulary, sentence structure, and word tenses. Through CommonLit, they were exposed to a variety of readings focused on improving literacy, broadening their worldviews, and developing critical thinking skills. These innovative platforms significantly improved students’ English skills and allowed our teachers to work effectively with many more students.
Scholars learned that servant leadership, as modeled by Jesus, requires a commitment to love and improve the lives of others. This was cultivated through daily devotions and Family Groups, which allowed students to build deep relationships with peers from different backgrounds and walks of life. These close-knit relationships challenged Scholars to build their circle of friends and use their unique strengths to serve others.
Each week, Scholars were encouraged to develop an entrepreneurial mindset by looking at the needs and challenges of their communities and developing creative solutions. Students learned that entrepreneurship requires hard work, discipline, and a commitment to excellence, getting results, and making a difference.
At the end of the program, Scholars participated in a capstone project where they identified community needs, researched potential solutions, and presented their ideas to their peers. The winning group discussed the importance of good governance in Africa and designed an application idea called “THEIRVOICE” which allows citizens to communicate their needs, participate in policy making, vote, and evaluate their local leaders.
We are grateful for everyone who believed in, supported, and championed the vision to launch Isomo Academy this year. We would like to extend a special thank you to the Minister of State, Gaspard Twagirayezu, responsible for Primary & Secondary Education at Rwanda’s Ministry of Education. Thank you for partnering with us.
With the first phase of Isomo’s pilot program complete, the Isomo team will now focus on developing remote academic content and extra-curricular activities for students, building a network of Rwanda’s top educators and expanding college counseling opportunities for students in 2022.
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B2R’s Director of Academic Services, Chaste Niwe, was recently published in Pan Africa Review for his article, “To Realise The Promise of Learning,” where he discusses the progress of Rwanda’s education system over the last 20 years, the challenges the sector faces today, and, more importantly, the opportunities to develop alternative pathways to learning that will improve the knowledge and skills of many people. Read the full article.
“It is increasingly crucial to realize that training our people for a very unpredictable future requires more comprehensive and dynamic approaches because no size can fit all. The more diverse the avenues of learning, the greater excellence we can reach in all expected outcomes of education. This will necessitate bravery of imagination and courage to implement unconventional methods.”
We are excited to announce that B2R Farms has officially become a certified exporter in Rwanda! In the span of only two weeks, the B2R Farms’ team completed two shipments of green chillis to London, collectively weighing 3,500 kilograms. Through the use of Foundations for Farming principles, Nova Farm has become a producer of the highest quality bird’s eye chili in the country, with less than 13 kg rejected in a harvest of 1,000 kg — a rejection rate of less than 1%. We look forward to growing B2R Farms into a leading horticulture export company in Rwanda and opening doors for young agriculture graduates to gain practical experience working in every stage of the export process.
“There were many unforgettable moments during our first two shipments — spending the night in a crowded packhouse, folding boxes, sorting the chili, and packing it in “Produce of Rwanda” boxes. It was the first time we really felt B2R’s contribution to Rwanda’s growing “Made in Rwanda” brand. To see the diversity of skills and experience of our team come together in the most stressful times was truly incredible.”
– Rosine Ndayishimiye, Director of Training – Agriculture
This year, Bridge2Rwanda experienced incredible growth, unforeseen miracles, and renewed vision in our efforts to create sustainable, market-driven enterprises with the ability to improve the lives of many more people.
D O W N L O A D A N N U A L R E P O R T
|O U R 2 0 2 1 H I G H L I G H T S|
Despite incredible challenges and setbacks, Bridge2Rwanda’s Isomo Academy officially launched on Sunday, August 1, with the first cohort of 120 Isomo Scholars and 32 B2R staff receiving special clearance from the government to travel to Maranyundo Girls School and begin the 8-week residential boot camp.
This marks the beginning of a transformative learning experience grounded in:
From a pool of over 2,800 applicants from all 30 districts of Rwanda, B2R selected 120 extraordinary students for its pioneer class of Isomo Scholars. These students were selected based on their impressive academic record, well-rounded passions and aspirations, and active engagement within their communities.
See full list of Isomo Scholars.
With the rise of COVID-19 cases and Rwanda’s recent lockdown, the launch of Isomo Academy was uncertain. It is only through the incredible resilience of the Isomo team, whose commitment to finding a way, against all odds, made the program a reality for students this year.
With the support of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, Rwanda National Police, and the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, the team was able to secure special clearance to travel through sectors under lockdown and establish a “bubble” at Maranyundo.
Isomo Academy kicked off with a fun-filled week of culture and leadership training, technology set-up, ice-breakers and games, academics, family group time, and fellowship. The students also received a special visit from the Mayor of Bugesera District.
Isomo Academy’s holistic approach is designed to transform the mindset, attitude and ideas of each student during the eight-week boot camp. Our prayer is that, when the Isomo Scholars return to their high schools and communities, the students themselves will fuel a new passion for learning and commitment to excellence in Rwandan education.
B2R Fellows, Steven Mucyo (Georgetown University), Christelle Umubyeyi(Yale University) and Diana Munyana(Columbia University) sat down with Managing Director of The BRIDGE Career Services, Happiness Uwase, to discuss their transition from university to career, their experience working at Dalberg, a strategy and policy advisory firm specializing in global development, and what led them to return home to launch their careers in Rwanda.
“There are things that people tell you in terms of checking boxes like, ‘you should work at these places or you should stay in the US to gain experience,’ but I think owning your own trajectory and knowing that there are possibilities beyond the checked boxes assigned to you helped me realize that there was an opportunity for me to shape my own experience and be open to new possibilities.”– Christelle Umubyeyi, B2R Fellow
Congratulations to the 35 B2R Scholars who graduated from universities abroad this year! We wish them the best as they enter a new season and begin their professional journey. There is no limit to what they will accomplish over the course of their careers.
287 STUDENTS SELECTED
$ 72 MILLION SCHOLARSHIPS EARNED FROM
85 COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Thank you to our incredible network of Scholars, donors, partners, host families, sponsors, and friends who have joined us on the bridge over the last 10 years. We look forward to what the next decade holds!