Staff

Hillary Carey

Chief Business Office, Rwanda Girls Initiative

Hillary Carey joined RGI in November of 2016. As Chief Business Officer, Hillary leads fundraising, strategy development, partnership development and stewardship, communications, finance, as well as supporting other aspects of operations for the organization.

Prior to joining RGI, Hillary was the CEO of Camp Korey, a non-profit dedicated to providing support to children and families with serious medical conditions. As the first employee of Camp Korey, Hillary helped establish the nonprofit, building out is programming, operations, partnerships, and fundraising. During her time with the organization, Camp Korey served over 19,000 children.

Hillary lives in Seattle with her two children, Henry and Gus, and husband Brian.

Peter Thorp

Chief Academic Officer, Rwanda Girls Initiative

Peter arrived in Rwanda in May, 2010 to be the founding head of school of GGAST, which opened in February, 2011 with 90 girls in our first class. He worked with an amazing staff of African and American teachers and volunteers to achieve full enrollment of 270 girls in the 2013 school year. The highlight of Peter's time in Rwanda was our very first graduation in October 2013 attended by His Excellency Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, Co-Founders Soozi and Shal, as well as many US-based supporters and Rwandan officials. Peter hired and trained his successor, Alain Munyaburanga, who became headmaster in the 2014 school year.

Prior to his 4 years in Rwanda, Peter served as the Interim CEO of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) for 6 months and the Chief of Staff for CCSA for 3 years, the Executive Director and founding principal of Gateway High School in San Francisco, the headmaster of Cate School in Santa Barbara, and he taught history and coached soccer, ice hockey and lacrosse for eighteen years at Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs.

Peter graduated from Williams College with a degree in art history, has a Masters of Education from Boston State College, and has done advanced study at the University of Colorado and Harvard Graduate School of Education. Peter has two daughters, Elyssa the mother of Peter's almost three-year-old grandson, Everett, and Amy who volunteered for two years at GGAST, establishing our very first university counseling program and who now lives in Boston.

Alain Munyaburanga

Head of School, Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology

Alain has been the Headmaster of the Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology since January 2014. He serves at the same time as the In-Country Director for the Rwanda Girls Initiative. He joined Rwanda Girls Initiative and the Gashora girls Academy of science and technology in June of 2012 first on part time basis then full time in December 2012 serving under Peter Thorp, the founding Headmaster.

Before Joining RGI/GGAST, Alain was a key member of the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village’s staff in Rwanda since the fall of 2006. Beginning with leading the negotiations for the land on which the Village now sits, to assisting in brokering and managing the relationship with the architects and builders who constructed the Village. Alain was instrumental in ensuring the speed and success with which the first phase of construction was completed. Alain oversaw the permitting process as well as assisted in the recruiting and hiring of Village staff after being the only Agahozo-Shalom’s staff in Rwanda until the beginning of 2009. He served as Deputy Director from 2009 to 2011 where his responsibilities included oversight of the school as well as the farm and general village operations before being appointed as the Director of Education and Training that oversaw the village philosophy application and trainings as well as staff professional growth. Alain is a graduate of the British Columbia Institute of Technology; he worked in the Tel-Com Industry in Nigeria and trade in Dubai and South Africa before moving back to Rwanda in early 2006. Alain is married and he and his wife Marie have 3 children.

John Nejman

Dean of University Counselling and Placement

John graduated from Duke University in 2006 with a B.S. in Biological Anthropology and Anatomy and received a North Carolina teaching license in 7-12 Science.He began his teaching career at Northern High School in Durham, NC and then accepted a position at Konawaena Middle School in Kealakekua, Hawaii. He then taught Chemistry at the Pennington School in New Jersey and Chemistry and AP Physics at the American School of Brasilia in Brazil before arriving in Rwanda in January 2011, as one of the founding faculty members of Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology (GGAST).

He brought with him extensive coaching, advising and teaching experience at public, boarding and international schools. John was the first Physics teacher and also served as Head Basketball Coach at GGAST from 2011-2015, leading the team to five straight Bugesera District titles. In January 2014, he became the Director of University of Counseling. Under John’s leadership, the university preparation and placement program at GGAST has become one of the most successful in all of Africa. In each year since John took over, the number of students enrolling in universities outside of Rwanda has increased significantly. John believes that university preparation begins when students arrive in Senior 4. He advises all 270 girls so that they can prepare for standardized tests like the ACT and SAT, become involved in leadership positions, community service and extracurricular activities, and achieve academic excellence in the classroom all while supporting and working together with their sisters in Gashora. John now teaches English, ACT and SAT prep classes, focusing on problem solving, critical reading and writing skills.He also coordinates university visits to Rwanda and has developed close relationships with universities around the world. John believes that each girl at GGAST will find the best possible post-secondary educational opportunity and the right match for herself. He works closely with each student and their families throughout the application process, and once admitted, he continues to support their preparation for their education and life after GGAST. He loves teaching and working with Gashora Girls; he is the only member of the founding faculty that is still working at GGAST.

He lives with his wife, Bekah Mwebaze, who operates a farm in Bugesera District, and their daughter, Tiana Keza, in Gashora Village and plans to work as an educator in Rwanda for the remainder of his career, helping students access higher educational opportunities so that they can gain the knowledge and skills needed to impact the development of Rwanda.

Amy Thorp

Director of Alumnae Programs

Amy began her work with Gashora Girls Academy in 2012 as a volunteer helping her father, Peter, with various administrative tasks. As our inaugural Associate Director of University Counseling, Amy worked closely with the Class of 2013 during their college application process. Her partnership with the students and their families resulted in 27 of our first graduates attending university in North America, earning nearly $5.5million in scholarship and financial aid. After leaving Rwanda in June 2014, Amy continued her connection with RGI as our International University Coordinator. In her new role, Amy is primarily responsible for the coordination of our alumnae relations. In addition to her work with RGI, Amy is the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an Admissions Reader for African Leadership Academy. Amy holds a B.S. in Athletic Training from Northeastern University and currently resides in Boston.

Alaine Uwambaye

Accountant

Alaine joins RGI with a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Rwanda and a diploma in accounting.She was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and moved to Rwanda after the genocide. From her experience living in these war-torn countries, Alaine understands first-hand how vulnerable women and young girls are. As part of a new generation fortunate enough to go to school and earn a degree, Alaine is a passionate advocate for education, and is devoted to the empowerment of women and girls. Being with RGI is not only a job but an opportunity to fulfill a moral duty. Alaine lives in Kigali with her husband and three children.