Members of Rwandan Community in Kenya last week converged at Invergara Club in Nairobi to mark International Women’s Day in a colorfully event that was attended by Rwandans and their Kenyan friends .The ceremony was officiated by the High Commissioner, Ambassador James Kimonyo.
In his remarks, Ambassador Kimonyo said that the contribution by Rwandan Woman in social-economic transformation dates back to 1990’s during liberation struggle where women played a big role in liberating the country.
He said that women have demonstrated potential to deliver on their duties equally as their male counterparts, which is why they continue to occupy key decision making positions.
“Our constitution provides for 30 percent of Women representation in key decision making positions but because of the potential and hard work that Rwandan women have continued to demonstrate, it has given them a leeway to do more than just what the constitution says. That is why they occupy 64% seats in our National Parliament and at least 50 percent in other institutions across the Government.”
The envoy emphasized that, Rwanda’s leadership does not empower women because of affirmative action policies, it’s rather because women are equally as capable as men.
“Our top leadership does not empower women for equality purposes, they rather give equal opportunities to women and men because we believe it’s a right not a favor and Rwandan women have proven beyond any doubt that they are capable,” Amb. Kimonyo said.
Rwandan women based in Kenya used this event to showcase their work and shared success stories of how they have been able to thrive on Kenyan market.
One Valerie Uwimana shared a story of how she ventured into tailoring business in 2013 under her company La Fontaine LTD with only one sewing machine and only one employee but has since then gone on to expand her business and currently employs thirty employees.
“I started off with only one sewing machine and one worker but now I employ thirty one full time and twenty to thirty part time workers depending on volume of work. These include eleven Rwandans. I have also been able to increase my sewing machines from one to twenty nine”.
Uwimana says she started with an initial capital of Kshs 500,000 (Rwf4,000,000 ) but now gets an annual turnover of about Rwf5,000,000 Kenya shillings (40,000,000 Rwf). She says she is in the process of registration to expand her business to Rwanda.
Other Rwandan women doing business in Kenya used this event to showcase products mainly arts and crafts, cloths, shoes and carpets.