Rita Zirimwabagabo Paying it Forward

Rita Zirimwabagabo (right) and Sonia Ndirimba, Executive Secretary of OAFLA at campaign for HIV prevention in Rwanda

Rita Zirimwabagabo, a 2011 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® graduate, was born with a servant’s heart. One of eight children, by age 10 Rita had learned the value of hard work when her father died and the siblings bound together to keep the family afloat. She now runs her own supplement business, serves on the board of the Imbuto Foundation benefiting teens with HIV, and dreams of opening her own chain of elderly care homes to serve Rwanda’s growing senior population. Family and the betterment of the group figures heavily into Rita’s mission in the world.

But let’s put all those successes on the shelf while we focus for a moment on Rita truly embracing the PTB ethos of Paying It Forward. At the graduation ceremony each July, our greatest mandate to each woman as she triumphantly walks across the stage to accept her well-earned certificate is to pay forward her knowledge upon her arrival back in her home country. The gift of education is not a trifling thing. It is meaningful, it has merit, it is worth spreading. The greatest thing a PTB graduate can do is pay forward the education she is given thanks to our donors, sponsors and supporters.

“I am already sharing with the Rwandan Alumnae Association members the beauty of paying it forward.  It enriches you on many fronts.  Interacting with other people helps you grow your network, and one just feels useful by helping some one in need of what we gained from PTB.”

In that spirit, today we honor Rita for heading up the new loan committee formed within the Alumnae Association PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Rwanda. She does this in addition to her already-full plate. As the lead on this project, Rita honors her fellow countrywomen by bringing her business expertise to serve their growth. Together with our partner Arrow Capital, IEEW will be testing the waters in Kigali with a loan program for small to medium businesses within the PTB network in Kigali: a loan program for women, by women. Watch this space for what these women create! It takes us all. We are 100% privately-funded; CLICK HERE to help us serve more women in Rwanda.