My Dream Might Soon Come True

By: Regis Umugiraneza

December 13, 2017

When the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi started, I was just four years old living with my family in Kinihira Sector, Ruhango district. The Interahamwe militia killed my father and sister but my mother survived, embarking on a struggle to provide for me.

I always wondered why my family was suffering but had no answer. I also failed to understand why so many children were dying early.

When I was in primary school in 1999, my neighbor lost a son due to malnutrition because the family was too poor to afford a meal. We were very poor too. I started thinking about what I could do to save my village. This triggered my desire to become a doctor.

While in college, I studied Bio-Chemistry – this is when I started thinking about how I could assist my village. I realized we had only been eating sweet potatoes, without any other alternative diet. I wondered if there was another way sweet potatoes could be processed, especially the orange colored potatoes rich in Vitamin A.

When I started university in 2013 in the faculty of Agri Business, I already had a clear idea. I designed a project to process orange sweet potatoes into spaghetti. Surprisingly, many people laughed at me, saying it was a stupid idea.

But my lecturer encouraged me to go ahead. I then approached four classmates and we started the CARL Group (Clarisse, Ada, Regis and Larissa), a company that would later work to add nutritional value to sweet potatoes. We started producing bread but still with the idea to make spaghetti.

This is my story of why I do what I do. After attending the training by Resonate on storytelling and presentation, I received valuable skills and was able to touch a few of the judge’s hearts. They chose me, along with four young business entrepreneurs, and we won a total 24 million Rwandan francs from the ‘Innovation Fund Business Competition’, organized by Genocide Survivors Associations – SURF under Youth Employment Training program.

Megan Madeira