AT THE age of 21, Pierre Kwizera is the envy of his neighbours and friends. But his journey to become Nyamagabe town main phone repairman has not been easy.
In 2008, while just 16, he left his home in the rural Kamegeri Sector, Nyamagabe District and went to the district's main town to try to earn a living. In Nyamagabe town, the young man started selling biscuits, sweets and other edibles he carried about in a box.
But months into the business, he realised he was making little profit. So he tried his luck elsewhere, and started selling airtime. He then ventured into battery charging services.
But as time flew by, Kwizera picked interest in technology and dreamt of exploiting it to improve his living conditions. This was after he realised that residents of Nyamagabe town lacked skilled technicians to repair broken mobile phones. But, having only completed primary education he lacked the skills to the job.
However, he did not throw away his ambitions but rather decided to confront the reality with extreme resolve. He, sought the skills from within him.
He started training himself on how to repair a mobile phone until when he realised he could jump into the business.
"Little by little, I thoroughly analysed what makes a phone and became very familiar with it. Then I started repairing and gradually improved my skills," Kwizera says.
With about Rwf 90,000 he saved from his income, he acquired a number of repair tools that he needed to start operating. And about three years ago, the young man hit the streets confident of himself: he started offering phone repair services to area residents.
And, ever since, the number of individuals seeking his service has been increasing, and so has been his income. The self-educated repairer is today a well known figure in Nyamagabe town, especially among his clients.
"Most of my clients are those whose phones are broken and bring them here for repair," Kwizera says, as he rummages through a pile of old phones on his working table.
To keep clients coming, Kwizera makes sure he remains updated with the latest inventions and technology to ensure that he can repair any phone brought to him.
"Technology is subject to constant changes and innovations. So I have to keep myself updated and always strive to improve my knowledge," says the single.
For the last three years that he has been involved with the phone repairing activities, Kwizera has managed to start other businesses. Today, he owns a moderate retail shop in Nyamagabe, a saloon car and two motorcycles.
The youngster also deals in new mobile phones and their accessories which he sells from his repair-shop.
"Everything I have today came from money I earned as a repairer," Kwizera says, proudly.
"I am now better off. I think i have achieved a lot already in my young life and I hope to keep moving forward," he adds resolutely.
Kwizera advises other youths to work hard and to always strive to live better lives.
"Work is the foundation of everything. If you cannot work, it means you can't improve your conditions," he says. "So everyone should endeavour to find themselves what to do. And for the youth, particularly, let's wake up and work hard."
He adds: "No one should fear to take risks because every work has its own risks. Coming up with innovative ideas and implementing them will take us to the next level."