KICS Graduate Christelle Kwizera
Joyful, faithful, and go-getter are just a few of many words that describe Christelle Kwizera, former KICS graduate and current entrepreneur.
Christelle’s graduation from KICS in 2011 left her equipped in many ways for university and beyond, one of which included critical thinking. “The teachers developed my English writing skills in a way that was invaluably helpful in university. Unlike my peers, I spent more time thinking about my topic than writing it,” said Christelle, who graduated from Oklahoma Christian University after KICS. Not only was she impacted academically, but spiritually too. “KICS really developed my faith, and my desire for missional work increased each year as I heard from people who were seeking God and serving him.”
Christelle has fond memories of her time at KICS. Reflecting back she remarked, “I miss getting exposed to all kinds of cultures and backgrounds through our missionary professors who opened up my mind to the extent of Christendom.”
Now, Christelle runs Water Access Rwanda, a social enterprise business that provides simple, affordable, and durable water solutions to Rwanda’s bottom of the pyramid market as well as to businesses and farmers. While she enjoys making daily sacrifices to ensure her social enterprise is impactful and profitable, her work has helped her realize what truly makes a good leader. “As a leader, I can’t make final decisions without God. My spirit is strengthened and empowered by God and the knowledge of the Holy Spirit,” noted Christelle.
One of the things Christelle finds most rewarding about her work is witnessing broken individuals finding a renewed sense of purpose in serving others. She is also thankful to be surrounded by a support system of loved ones. Her motivation is rooted in the knowledge that through her work, people’s lives are being impacted positively towards holistic change (physical, spiritual and emotional). “All this is temporary and heaven awaits behind the veil; Heaven is the real goal here,” she said.
Among Christelle’s interests, one that stands out is her passion for girl’s empowerment. Although she is passionate about spiritual empowerment for all of God’s children, she explained that girls take a special place. “This is because I am a girl, and I also believe we suffer a higher level of ridicule and receive less reinforcement than boys. We also have fewer individuals to look up to.” Sharing further, she revealed that her task as a young female entrepreneur is essentially to pioneer and hopefully set a strong example for other girls to emulate and learn from. In her support to girls she added, “Every [water] well we provide usually means less barriers to female education and rise in the professional world.”
Christelle has received several awards beginning from her school days at KICS right up to this point in her career. “My first big award was from KICS, where I received a Christ-like character award for Determination. I treasure this,” remarked Christelle in recollection.
To mention a few, since leaving KICS she was honored to be a MILEAD fellow (A program for Young African Women Leaders), given to the most outstanding young female leaders in Africa by MOREMI initiative (for African Women Leaders) in Ghana. Also, handed to her by the First Lady of Rwanda, Jeanette Kagame, was an award she received during Women’s Day 2016. “The award was for running an innovative business as a female presented by World Bank IFC group in collaboration with other organizations.”
As a former student of KICS, Christelle’s final remarks go to the current students. “Enjoy the time at KICS and take advantage of the extra-curricular activities. Senior year is not the time to think about scholarships, start earlier. Last but not least, be missional in your interactions with others, nothing is more beautiful than participating in the process of bringing a person to God – whether as a seed planter or waterer!”
Article by Efua Hagan