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Through Imagine Books, Rwanda gains 200 young authors

Esther Mukakamanzi, Nsanzimana Divin, and Sugira Shekinnah have something in common, a love for writing they had put aside to focus more on their demanding academic life. However, a recent turn of events has reignited their passion, leading them to reconnect with their creative roots.

Imagine We is once again driving forward youth creativity through the launch of their first-ever digital platform, Imagine Books, featuring over 200 books authored by young people.

With the Digital Library, part of the “Let’s Get Creative” initiative, Imagine We, a dynamic youth-led organization, aims to enhance education with diverse cultural content. In collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation, the organization has been dedicated to fostering creativity, imagination, and values in students.

The program has reached over 2,000 children, including 1,304 young girls and 712 boys, from 10 districts across all four provinces of Rwanda. Over 1,000 stories were collected, and 40 teachers were trained.

It is more than just a library; it’s a celebration of creativity and empowerment

Among those is Esther Mukakamanzi, Ikaze Nsanzimana Alain Divin, and Sugira Muhizi Shekinah, high school students with a passion for pen and paper.

Mukakamanzi, a student at Agahozo Shalom Youth Village, has always possessed a creative mind, she started writing ever since she was a child. But since creative pursuits are shunned apon in society, her parents believed she should study sciences. Which she is doing now.

In life’s coincidence she met with Imagine We’s CEO and Founder, Uwase Dominique Alonga, who inspired her to pursue her passion as she continues with her studies. Which she did and later joined the ‘Let’s get Creative’ program and inspired other students to join as well.

“Everytime you share your story it will help someone else become the best version of themselves.”

Uwihoreye Josephine, a teacher at Ecole de Science Byimana, shared her perspective on the program’s impact on these young minds. “This program is vast and I see it as a lifelong learning journey. Some students may think they will only pursue what they are currently studying, but they can also explore other avenues, such as writing, and make a living through it,” she remarked.

Uwase Dominique Alonga, emphasized that at the core of the organization’s vision is the belief that young people should be given platforms to be creative.

She said, “Creativity is not a privilege; it is a right. Creative spaces for children should be encouraged, innovated, and prioritized. Investing in young people matters. The journey is only starting.”

Nicolas Emane from the Mastercard Foundation also encouraged young authors to continue on their creative paths, highlighting the need for more African stories told by African authors.

He said, “In school, you can get knowledge, but creativity is about what you do with this knowledge. It gives you the opportunity to literally think outside the box. I encourage you not to keep it to yourself; let your mind run free. We need more stories.”

Ikaze Nsanzimana Alain Divin, a student at Lycée de Kigali, reflected on how the program rekindled his passion for writing. “The program has awakened my dormant abilities. When I was young, I used to write and read, but as I grew older, I thought it was just for kids. However, when I started writing a story, I realized it could be a viable career option,” he said.

Mukakamanzi Esther, a student at Agahozo Shalom Youth Village, emphasized the influence of writing. “Writing is a powerful tool to influence. My message to young people is to let their minds speak. Just have a pen and write your thoughts down. Anne Frank wrote her journal without intending to become an author, yet it turned into one of the most influential books in the world,” she advised.

The Imagine Books Digital Platform can be accessed free of charge by every young person. It has now 200 stories written by young people and more to come.

The Digital Library, part of the “Let’s Get Creative” initiative, aims to enhance education with diverse cultural content
Access to diverse cultural content broadens perspectives, nurtures creativity, and enriches education for students everywhere
“The journey is only starting.”
Storytelling and literature play a crucial role in education, enhancing creativity, empathy, and cultural awareness.
Narratives foster critical thinking, preserve heritage, and engage students more deeply in their learning journey
“With digital tools, you not only find opportunities but opportunities find you.”
Cheers to these young and incredible authors!

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