The atrocities of 1994 reshaped Rwanda’s gender ratio drastically. The aftermath of the Genocide against the Tutsi and the ensuing exodus begot a depleted nation whose women formed about 70% of the population. Consequently, many women across the country found themselves shouldering the responsibility of providing for their families.
Thrust into an unfamiliar territory, many women didn’t fare well in the competitive job market due to limited formal education or lack thereof. In line with the government’s efforts to empower women, the Urugo Women’s Opportunity Center (WOC) was established to break the long-standing barrier formed by generations of marginalization.
Urugo WOC was built by women for the benefit of women in Kayonza area and beyond. It was designed by a woman namely Sharon Davis, the founder of Sharon Davis Design. Sharon is an architect who measures the success of her projects by their impact on social transformation, economic empowerment and environmental compliance.
All 450,000 clay bricks, used to build the state-of-the-art center, were handcrafted by a Kayonza-based cooperative of women led by Angelique Mukankubana. Mukankubana is a graduate of a training program sponsored by Women for Women International.
Women for Women International supports vulnerable women in post-conflict countries around the world. In Rwanda, the nonprofit organization has groomed more than 76,000 entrepreneurs since 1997. The beneficiaries of the center’s training programs are equipped with practical skills needed to produce marketable products and run businesses professionally.