“A perfect day for me growing up would be any Sunday that started with church with my siblings, followed by a lunch all together, and topped off by a random evening activity: watching a movie, stopping by a family member’s house, or visiting a new spot around town,” Gloria Busingye says, recalling her early years in Rwanda.
Today Gloria, a 2019 Mandela Washington Fellow, managing director of The Kontent Kitchen, and founder of the Safe Circle for Children Initiative, is advocating for an end to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the state using training and sensitization programs.
“A few years ago, I was working on a project in a children’s center sheltering survivors of SGBV,” Gloria says. “We spent time with the girls we met there and helped them to battle the consequences of their abuse, but I always thought: I want to do something more for them.”
Gloria, whose work includes content production and advocacy in equal measure, is adamant about placing the needs of others ahead of her own, a philosophy that characterizes the whole of her career.
“The women I’ve met along the way keep me inspired,” Gloria says. “I want to do more for girls [and] end SGBV both in Rwanda and across the continent.”
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gloria and her peers are organizing online meetings to share their stories and encourage one another.
“We try to reach out to other young adults to assure them that we are there for them,” Gloria says. “We also share official medical guidance to slow the spread of the virus.”
Among the myriad of challenges Gloria has faced over the years, funding stands out as a common and demanding one.
“I decided to divide my project into phases to give me more time to find the right partners and collaborators,” Gloria says. “I also sought out like-minded youth with whom I could create a team and a common cause.”
For Gloria, her interest in supporting women and girls forms the throughline of her work and buoys her when difficulties arise.
“Let your passion lead you. When you’re passionate about your work, you will realize your vision,” Gloria says. “You might meet challenges and failures, but it’s never the end.”
“You don’t have to be in a position of power to be influential,” Gloria says. “Everyone can be a champion of change. It just takes passion and belief in yourself.”
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The views and opinions expressed here belong to those interviewed and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government.