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Through Iwacu in Africa, she transformed the lives of over 700 youth

Uwamahoro Divine is a young woman still in her twenties but with a lifetime legacy in the cinematic industry. Through her project ‘Iwacu in Africa’ she has been able to impact the lives of more than 700 hundred young people.

Founded by Divine Uwamahoro and her brother, Iwacu in Africa has embarked on a transformative journey since its inception in 2018, harnessing the power of film to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs.

The most compelling chapter in its story is the Nyiramubande project, named aptly for an “echo” — a metaphor for the reverberating impact of women whose voices in the film industry have traditionally been diminished and dismissed.

“Women’s voices in film are not amplified. They are frequently overlooked and portrayed as incapable,” Uwamahoro explained. But through the Nyiramubande project, Iwacu in Africa supported by the Mastercard Foundation, aimed to shatter these stereotypes by proving just how impactful and capable young women can be in the cinematic world.

“We introduced the Nyiramubande project to demonstrate that young women are capable and have an impact on the film industry,” Uwamahoro emphasized.

This initiative focused on young women aged 18 to 25, equipping them with skills in videography, photography, scriptwriting, storytelling, and editing. On May 3rd, 100 young women of different backgrounds were awarded certificates as they had finished their courses within Iwacu in Africa.

One of the shining examples of Iwacu in Africa’s success is Muhorakeye Peace Florence, a 23-year-old graduate who joined the project in 2023. “I saw a link inviting those interested in videography, acting, directing, and editing to apply. I was extremely interested because it was my passion,” she recounted.

Her journey from application to immersion in the world of cinema is a testament to the project’s life-changing impact. “I applied, was interviewed, and got a call back to begin the program,” she added, noting her transformation from a curious enthusiast to a confident professional. “I am overjoyed to be a girl doing videography in Rwanda. Many girls are still afraid and lack confidence in taking videos and photos, but I now feel confident enough to pick up a camera.”

Since the project’s inception, Iwacu in Africa has trained approximately 725 individuals, with 108 securing employment and 32 consistently freelancing, unable to go six months without work.

Uwamahoro proudly shared, “From 2018 to now, our graduates are making their mark, and they can’t go six months without working.”

Uwamahoro’s vision extends beyond individual success stories. She aims to cultivate a resilient community of female filmmakers who are not only capable but also inspiring.

“The industry is not just for men; it extends to women,” Uwamahoro stated, encouraging young women to feel confident and capable. She closed her thoughts with a note of gratitude and optimism telling the graduates, “Thank you for your hard work and for making us and yourselves proud. You make films that are shown at festivals. You’re showing us that it’s possible, and it is!”

Carmen Nibigira, the lead tourism and hospitality management at the Mastercard Foundation encouraged the young women graduating to make the most out of the opportunity that they have been given.

She said, “ Believe in yourself, keep nurturing your talent, and never settle. You have been given an opportunity, the power is in your hand.”

Listen to her story
100 girls have received trainings and were able to graduate
Divine Uwamahoro founded Iwacu in Africa with her Brother
The young women are now able to make all sorts of film
The Mastercard Foundation has supported the initiative as it impact the lives of young people

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