23 November 2012

Rwanda: Tigo Rewards Social Entrepreneurs

The telecommunication company Tigo in partnership with the non-profit organization Reach for Change on Friday announced the three overall winners of a young social entrepreneurs' competition.

The competition was open to social entrepreneurs with projects proposing solutions for the most vulnerable children.

The 'Reach for Change' program had already been piloted in Ghana, reaching more than 140,000 children in the first year. In Rwanda, the most entrepreneurial candidates were Jean Ntazinda, the managing director of Crimate Concern ltd, Archimede Sekamana for his project Drawing a Dream and Jacques Kayisire for his project Dream Team Football Academy.

They will join a three-year incubator program where they will work on transforming their ideas into sustainable ventures.

The winning entrepreneurs received US$ 25,000 each and they will be receiving a monthly salary as well as mentoring and professional advice from senior employees of Tigo.

"We are thrilled to have this opportunity to improve the lives of children in Africa on a large scale together with Tigo. We believe that the best way to create social change is to give the right tools to people who are passionate about their task and who have the entrepreneurial drive to make a difference," said Sara Damber, CEO of Reach for Change.

She pointed out that there are one million children worldwide whose lives have been improved due to Reach for Change programs. "In Rwanda we received 106,000 applications; that's a lot of people who want to drive change in the country through entrepreneurship."

Radegonde Ndejuru director general in the office of the First Lady and head of the Imbuto Foundation, told the winners that the chance they are given should be used effectively. "For those who didn't win, you had great projects so continue to work on them and improve them so that you can have a chance to be chosen next time. We are all working for Rwanda's children and this is a chance for us to see how our great ideas have evolved."

One of the winners, Jacques Kayisire, explained his Dream Team Football Academy aims at changing children's lives using football games. "They are taught to be confident and hope for a better tomorrow. Before and after the game, children are taught Rwandan values and different other skills."

As he was awarded of US$ 25,000, he committed himself to increase his project's working area. "We lacked financial capacity," he observed. The kids in Kayisire's projects are the ones between 4 and 18 years old.

For Achimede Sekamana, who won with his project 'Drawing a Dream', when children are sustainable cared for, the country can hope for a brighter future. His project works with children, especially orphans heading families, teaching them to draw their dreams as they imagine them.

"They draw their past, present and what they want to be in future including their principles to reach them. From their drawings, we analyze what they have chosen and train them accordingly. After the training, they are given Frw 50,000 and basic items for starting their own business in his preferred vocation."

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