PAVING THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

ODILE NTAKIYIMANA MBABAZI

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David and Rosette’s collaboration on their paver project has motivated and inspired them both. Their company, My Green Home, makes recycled pavers from sand and plastic waste. Working together has given them the courage to tackle what would otherwise be a very daunting initiative. You might be wondering how they came up with the idea. Let’s find out!

As schoolmates, the idea to make pavers from recyclable materials came from a university assignment. Rosette had designed a project about waste reduction in Kigali while David had submitted a proposal about environmental management. When they were preparing for a competition, they decided to merge their projects into one about making environmentally friendly pavers out of plastic waste. But it was not easy because it required extensive research on top of their coursework.

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Despite the challenges, they won the competition and received a cash prize which they used to fund their work. “We were the first people to ever do it, so we didn’t have anyone to learn from,” said Rosette, who also shared the challenges she faced as a young woman when presenting the project to partners. “Sometimes, a potential partner would turn what was supposed to be a business meeting into a date. They expected me to bribe them before they would help me.”

This kind of mistreatment is unacceptable and corrupt. It’s simply wrong to use your authority to abuse women, and unfortunately, it happens more often than you might realise. This kind of behaviour makes women feel uncomfortable at work or elsewhere. When it happened to Rosette, she discussed it with David, and they came up with a solution.

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When David heard about it, he was so disappointed. “It really hurt me. I had no idea she faced that problem. It opened my eyes and I started seeing all the challenges women face due to our society,” David said. He realised that to eradicate this attitude, men need to be involved because many don’t value women, and this can lead to abuse.

Rosette and David told us that working together has helped them overcome obstacles, and that they are happy with the progress they have made. Some of their achievements include setting up an office, acquiring the machinery needed to process the bricks and gaining expertise to make them perfectly. All this was made possible thanks to the strengths they each have: “Since we are two, we have synergies. I recognise that if David is good at something, he can be the one to do it. And he knows that if I’m good at something, he leaves me to it.”

“Being a woman is a privilege, and should not be a challenge. Girls should be independent and their ideas should be heard. They should be supported and be able to earn money without being taken advantage of,” Rosette said. Ni Nyampinga agrees with Rosette that being a girl is a privilege; something to be proud of, and that the attitudes that hold girls back or put them at risk need to change.

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