Nyampinga Ushoboye: Giving teen mothers a second chance
Uwizeye Grace Neelyma is the founder of Nyampinga Ushoboye a non-governmental organization based in Gahanga sector, Kicukiro district.
Nyampinga Ushoboye, which means “Miss Capable”, has various programmes targeted at the girl child. Among them are fighting against teen pregnancies, capacity building/economic empowerment for teenage mothers and vulnerable women, and leadership training.
We visited the NGO on a bright sunny morning and found the beneficiaries busy at the classroom learning about dressmaking. They are also taught how to make shoes.
Grace studied Journalism and Mass Communication at MKURR. She started the organization in December 2018, soon after graduating from Cornership Leadership Academy.
“The American government through a programme called ‘Global Grassroots’ equipped me with skills on how to mobilize funds, reach out to stakeholders and collaborate with the local government,” Grace recalls. On its part, MKURR was a good platform to learn how to talk to people, Grace says.
By combining these skills, she approached various benefactors who could back her idea. A local bank donated the initial 30 machines required for training. The government gave her the space and building where she conducts the training with help of a certified tutor. “MKURR also supported our project, especially during the pandemic,” says Grace.
Born of a teenage mother, and raised by a single mother (who is also her grandmother), she sees her life in those of the girls she helps.
Since Rwanda does not allow importation of used clothes (‘Mitumba’), dress making and tailoring skills are highly sought after.
The NGO has benefitted more than 200 young mothers. It also has an Early Childhood Development section where the children of the teen mothers are accommodated.
Uwinagiye Reberatha, 20, one of the beneficiaries says plans to start her business soon after finishing the six-month dressmaking and leadership courses. “May God bless Uwizeye for giving me this chance,” she says.
Grace is also a script writer and movie director. She is the hand behind Dunami, a short Christian movie on the power that affects change.
“MKURR is appealing due to its international education. The quality of education is also high,” she says.
In addition to these reasons, the university is near her NGO and the choice to study here was easy for her due to the convenience.