It is an exciting time at Gashora Girls Academy. Last May, our inaugural graduating class of 2013 began to graduate from university's around the world! We have recently hired 5 of these amazing alumnae to work at GGAST.
We sat down with three of these young women to talk about their time at Gashora and how they feel being back.
Meet Elvanie who works as GGAST's Career Development and University Advisor, Mado who is our Nutritionist and Olive who is our VAC (Value Added Center) Manager!
Would you introduce yourself to everyone?
Elvanie: I am Elvanie, at GGAST I studied Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science (MPC). I liked most of my combination
subjects but I especially enjoyed my computer classes. During my stay at GGAST I was involved in some extracurricular activities including the volleyball team, modeling and part traditional dance. I went to Adventist University of Central Africa and studied Networks and Communication systems. I am currently supporting the current students and alumnae with career development and university advising.
Mado: I am Marie de Dieu (Mado), my combination was Physics, Chemistry, and Biology (PCB). Besides academics, I enjoyed my stay in Gashora because of the diverse extracurricular activities; however, my favorite was Basketball. I went to the University of Rwanda and got my degree in Nutrition and Dietics. I am currently working as school Nutritionist and leadership development coordinator at GGAST.
Olive: My name is Olive and I studied PCB (Physics, Chemistry and Biology) at GGAST. I used to play volleyball as my extracurricular and I was Dorm Captain prefect. I studied Crop Production at the University of Rwanda. I am currently the VAC Manager at GGAST.
-What have you done since you graduated from Gashora?
Elvanie: After graduating from Gashora, I immediately attended Adventist University of Central Africa (AUCA) in Rwanda where I pursued a degree in Networks and Communication Systems. AUCA exposed me to real life experience due to their project-based learning system.
Mado: After graduating from Gashora served as the assistant Basketball Coach during my gap year. I then enrolled at the University of Rwanda College of Medicine and Health Sciences and graduated November 2nd with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. In my second year at university, I began working for the Global Give Back Circle as a Program Coordinator. The program put emphasis on developing leadership skills, mentorship, and giving back. I also had the opportunity to engage in research done at the University. I was part of evaluating programs like Integrated Nutrition and WASH Activities. My friends and I initiated a Public Health Students Association where I was the Project Manager with the main goal of identifying community nutrition related problems and providing solutions, such as building kitchen gardens and carrying out nutrition educational sessions to raise the awareness.
Olive: After Graduating from Gashora, I had a temporary job teaching nursery students at BUGESHI Primary and Nursery school. the next fall I joined the University of Rwanda College of Agriculture Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine where I received a Bachelor Degree in Crop Production. In my 3rd year of the university I was Vice Class Representative, and my 4th year I managed to be Deputy Guild President.
-How did Gashora prepare you for life beyond Gashora?
Elvanie: Gashora helped build confidence within me. Through various presentations, my communication skills went on developing and spread in everything I undertook. Gashora also taught me how to search for various opportunities available. With this skill, I was able to find job opportunities while I was still a university student. Last but not least, Gashora taught me how to be responsible and accountable for my life decisions, which is a skill that is very important in the outside world.
Mado: To be honest I do not know what I could have done with all the fear and self-doubt which were my identity before joining Gashora. Coming from a school which we were being led out of fear and could not have self-advocacy. It was a huge gift to be in Gashora where students lead the school and encouraged to speak out and let their voice be heard. As a result, I developed integrity, self-awareness, confidence, and empathy. I have been able to stand out and to lead others by paying attention to their suggestions, opinions, and synergy to bring a positive change.
Olive: Gashora empowered me with the leadership skills that helped me to be a good leader at the University of Rwanda where I was Deputy Guild president in charge of Academics. This helps me to be self-motivated and courageous in whatever I do.
-Why did you decide to come back to work here?
Elvanie: Working in Gashora is one of my biggest dream coming true. I have always wanted to give back to the community that made me who I am, but most especially I wanted to participate and get involved in girls’ education and development. Being a girl, I know how important girls’ education is and I would like to help girls know their worth and help them become important people in the future. I feel so much joy to be able to work with them through this journey of making so many decisions in a little time, be able to exploit the available opportunities and make use their time. As a career development and university advisor, I also want to equip girls with skills that will help them shine in the outside competitive world.
Mado: Gashora has been my home and I feel like I have never left Gashora. I had been longing to work in a diverse environment and excited to be here.
Olive: It was my privilege to work here at Gashora and my pleasure to put all the efforts and knowledge to improve my lovely famous high school because nothing better than seeing GGAST shining.
-What are your favorite things about Gashora/things you missed? -What is one of your favorite Gashora memories?
Elvanie: The first thing I missed the most about Gashora is its supportive environment. While I was in Gashora, I knew that I would always receive support from the administration, the teachers and my friends. When I graduated and entered the outside world all the support flew away. I had to do everything on my own. My best memories from Gashora were the talent shows held at the school. When I was a student at Gashora, I was a member of both the fashion club and the traditional dance troop, which are some of the best memories of my life.
Mado: The things I missed about Gashora were the different activities, such as the bonfire, water balloon fights, capture the flag, and basketball games, that were filled with laughter and were true moments of happiness. Those were the moments when Gashora sisterhood was at its maximum. The moments that my brain keep under the title of my "favorite memory's" are the Intramural Competitions. These competitions brought all the students into three different teams, and we would play different games like basketball, football and volleyball. Words of encouragement were always shouted out loud for everyone.
Olive: One of Gashora memories I won’t forget is affection and passionate of the staff and the founders of this school towards every student at Gashora.
-What is it like being back on campus as a staff?
Elvanie: It is nostalgic. Whenever I look around the campus, I recall all the moments I spent here when I was a student. However, I am no longer a student but a staff member. I feel the urge of sharing my experience with my younger sisters, contribute to their well-being, and guide them through this path to their academic success as well as their career goals.
Mado: Once alumna and now back on campus as a staff was not something that I would easily capture and imagine. Being a staff on campus helps me understand the reason behind decisions that were and are taken. I can, now, understand the way members of the staff feel when important decision are being made. I feel like a mediator, because I can understand the feeling of both students and the staff, with that I am able to know what would be best for the two parties.