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.
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!
This month, B2R commissioned its tenth cohort of 24 Bridge2Rwanda Scholars who earned university scholarships to study abroad this fall. The event included speeches from Group 10 Scholars, Brave Jeremie Mugisha and Jeielle Habinam Claudia; B2R Founder and CEO, Dale Dawson; and Group 5 Scholar and keynote speaker Christelle Umubyeyi. Watch the full event here.
We are so excited to officially announce that our first Isomo Academy summer boot camp will be held at Maranyundo Girls School, which is located in Nyamata, right outside Kigali. The school includes beautiful classrooms with smart technology and a large computer lab, as well as spacious dormitories where students will stay during the 8-week residential program. We look forward to selecting 120 students to join the first cohort of Isomo Academy beginning July 18!
Before graduating from Middlebury College with a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology and minor in Education Studies this month, B2R Scholar, Francoise Niyigena, had the opportunity to speak at a TEDx Middlebury event. In her talk “Why re-thinking the role of schools is key to ending global poverty,” Francoise named different ways that the school system fails to serve and truly empower the most marginalized, underrepresented and underserved communities.
“My biggest passion is empowering young people and I hope to do that through a career in rethinking education systems. I have always believed so deeply in the words of the late Nelson Mandela that ‘Education is the most powerful weapon that we can use to change the world.'”
JASIRI is supported by Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropy and seeks to attack poverty by investing in, nurturing, and empowering responsible entrepreneurs and leaders who benefit society by accelerating meaningful employment and ethical leadership. Learn more about the JASIRI Talent Investor.
We are excited to announce that B2R Fellow, Olivier Munyeshyaka has been selected to join the first cohort of JASIRI Talent Investor, a fully-funded, one-year high-impact entrepreneurship program that will guide them from idea generation to venture creation.
Congratulations to B2R Scholar, Diane Kabanyana, a senior business administration and economics major at Birmingham Southern College, for her work on Plant Space, an agricultural sustainability project which received international praise and advanced to the semi-finals of the Wege Prize 2021. Kabanyana and four other undergraduate students worked together to design Plant Space, a solar-powered hydroponic system that increases the supply of fresh, high-quality produce in Rwandan communities.
Working on this project has provided me with opportunities for research and has broadened my horizon in my longed-for career. I’m appreciative of my BSC education for inspiring me to think outside of the box and motivating me to work on life-changing issues.
Learn more about Plant Space and the Wege Prize 2021.
We are so excited to announce that all 24 Group 10 B2R Scholars have received international scholarships to some of the top universities in the world! Despite an incredibly challenging year of distance learning, Group 10 Scholars have excelled academically and maintained high ACT and TOEFL scores this year. We are excited to see what the New Year holds for the remaining five Scholars. Check out the complete list of where Scholars will be studying this fall below.
Aime Ismael Byiringiro, Texas Christian Univ.
Akur Santo Mading, Abilene Christian Univ.
Anne Monique Uwamahoro, Westmont College
Allegria Iteka, Whitman College
Brave Jeremie Mugisha, Harvard University
Cecilia Salvatore, Oklahoma Christian Univ.
Diane Musabese, Univ. Notre Dame
Emmanuel Malou Deng, Columbia University
Fabrice Mpozenzi, Abilene Christian University
Georgette Uwera, Yale University
Gerson Asifiwe Habinshuti, MIT
Hugues Mucyo Manzi, Univ. of Pennsylvania
Hyguette Rugwiro, Oklahoma Christian Univ.
Innocent Nkubito, Northwestern University
Jacques Muhire, Texas Christian University
Jamirah Swalat Issa, Hendrix College
Jeielle Habinam Claudia, Princeton University
Leandre Nsabimana, Pomona College
Lydie Buradi, Washington & Lee Univ.
Marisa Musenga, Swarthmore College
Moise Gasana, Brown University
Patience Mukundirukuri, Dartmouth College
Peace Ella Ishimwe, Babson College
Piok Deng Mayiik Mei, Dartmouth College
B2R Farms is excited to announce the launch of its second cohort of University of Rwanda agriculture interns. The selected 15 UR graduates come from 11 different districts in Rwanda, covering all four provinces of Rwanda and the City of Kigali. The graduates’ home towns also cover 6 distinct agro-ecological zones. For the next three months, the UR Interns will get trained in Foundations for Farming at B2R Farms demonstration farms. We hope to see these 15 young men and women accelerate the adoption of Foundations for Farming and conservation agriculture in Rwanda!
B2R Fellows, Norris Kayitare and Chaste Niwe, have been promoted to Director of College Counseling and Director of Academic Services, respectively. In addition to leading the B2R Scholars Program, they are responsible for launching B2R’s new Isomo Academy summer boot camp program for rising S5 and S6 students and providing English and college preparatory services to educational institutions throughout the year.
C H A S T E N I W E
Director of Academic Services
Chaste studied Ethics, Politics, and Economics at Yale University. As a Prep Teacher at B2R, he introduced new classes in African thought and literature and helped Scholars significantly improve their English proficiency and critical thinking skills. He played a key role in designing the Isomo Academy program model, which uniquely positions him to take on the role of Director of Academic Services. Chaste also served as a member of a task force for Rwanda’s Ministry of Education with other leaders in the country’s education sector. He is bringing with him a love for research, an avid sense of urgency, and a great love for education.
N O R R I S K A Y I T A R E
Director of College Counseling
After earning his undergraduate degree in Mathematical Economics from Pitzer College, Norris joined the B2R team as a College Counselor. The past three years, Norris has done an exceptional job recruiting, preparing, and guiding top students through the college search and application process. As Director of College Counseling, Norris will use his experience and leadership skills to help more talented students gain access to better universities in and outside of Rwanda. We are excited to see how his passion for students, contagious energy, and servant leadership will define the next chapter of the program.
B2R Founder & CEO, Dale Dawson, sat down for a virtual interview with Patrick Nsenga, CEO of AC Group, to discuss leadership and entrepreneurship. The event, hosted by the Kigali Foreign Affairs Council, is part of webinar series focused on educating and engaging Rwanda’s global community through conversations that inspire others to share Rwanda’s remarkable achievement over the last 26 years.