U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Erica Barks-Ruggles honored three Rwandan women at her residence to celebrate Women’s History Month. The three women, selected from nominations submitted by U.S. Embassy Kigali’s 40,085 Facebook fans, were recognized with the Embassy’s third annual Rwandan Women of Courage awards for their exceptional service and leadership.
Since 2007, the U.S. State Department in Washington has bestowed the International Women of Courage Award to inspiring women from around the world who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in advocating for human rights, social justice, and women’s equality and advancement. In addition, U.S. Embassies in many places also present their own separate award for courage to women in their host countries. This year, the U.S. Embassy in Kigali recognized for the third year inspiring women of Rwanda.
The three winners of the U.S. Embassy’s 2017 Women of Courage award are Chantal Munanayire, Kabanyana Ketsia, and Gakire Jeanne Francoise.
Chantal Munanayire is a successful businesswoman, and CEO of QUICK & C LTD, an automobile business that specializes in painting. She is the first woman elected to be the President of Rwanda Garage Association. She is a Co-founder of the Mother and Childhood Development Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the socio-economic lives of low income women and children.
Kabanyana Ketsia is the President and Founder of Dorcas Consolation Family or DCF, a local humanitarian NGO which aims to equip and empower vulnerable children. Through DCF, she has worked with sex workers, teaching them how they can abandon prostitution and join cooperatives and support their families. She has demonstrated innovation, creativity and selfless voluntary service to the community at large.
Gakire Jeanne Francoise is a laboratory agent at Cyakabiri Medical Center for more than twenty years. An example to her community and to everyone that physical disability does not define what it means to be successful. Her leadership, strength, and intellectually rigorous work helps to overturn societal perceptions of people with disability and promote greater tolerance.
“By honoring women,” Ambassador Barks-Ruggles told representatives from the government, business, and NGO sectors who attended the reception, “we show the next generation that they too can reach their dreams and change the world.”