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Breaking Barriers: Yankurije’s journey as a female motorcyclist in Kigali

Emeline Yankurije, one of the few female motorcyclists in Kigali City, has defied gender norms and societal expectations to pursue a career in motorcycling, traditionally dominated by men. Her journey has been marked by hardships and challenges, but she has remained resolute in her pursuit of financial stability and empowerment.

Emeline’s early life was defined by poverty and limited opportunities. Raised by a single mother in a rural area, she faced numerous obstacles that prevented her from receiving an education. At the age of 16, her life took a significant turn when she became pregnant. The realization of the hardships ahead motivated her to seek a better life for herself and her child.

Moving to Kigali, Emeline initially worked as a housemaid, earning meager wages. However, she didn’t let this deter her from aiming higher. Saving diligently, she eventually became an agent for MTN Rwanda. Still, she knew that becoming a motorcyclist could lead to even greater financial independence.

Pursuing a driving license proved to be a challenging process, taking three attempts before success. Emeline credits her pregnancy for opening her eyes to the possibilities that life had to offer. Undeterred by gender biases and societal norms, she pushed ahead, determined to become a motorcyclist.

Financing her dream proved to be another hurdle. Through a supportive project called GIZ, she obtained a loan to purchase her motorcycle. Despite facing skepticism and prejudices due to her gender, Emeline persisted, determined to prove herself.

As a female motorcyclist, Emeline acknowledges the challenges she encounters on a daily basis. Gender stereotypes and the perceptions of others can be obstacles, but she remains steadfast in her resolve to succeed. Emeline emphasizes that overcoming these challenges has given her confidence and the ability to provide for herself and her child.

Encouraging other young people to pursue their passions, Emeline urges them to seize opportunities and work diligently. She believes that with determination and willpower, success is attainable, and financial stability can be achieved.

Emeline’s ambition extends beyond personal achievements. She envisions a future where she can own multiple motorcycles and lend them to other young individuals who lack access to such resources. Her story serves as a testament to the power of resilience and determination in the face of adversity.

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