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Operating solely as an NGO was quite heavy as we depended extensively on partners and this limited us in a way. With the team we thought about starting our publishing house, which is something new here in Rwanda. We are very proud as it allows us to better reach our vision,” but I was able to improve my English quickly thanks to the books I was devouring. I know how important reading is.” In November 2014, her project was selected, spurring the launch of Imagine We Rwanda in January of the following year. Dominique recalls the first few months not being easy but having left her job, she was intent on making it work. Imagine We Rwanda was initially created as an NGO with a mission to encourage Rwandans to read, to appreciate the written word and to develop their stories. “Our stories as Africans and more specifically as Rwandans are so beautiful and full of wit, we wish that there were more books which would make Rwandans proud, and enable foreigners to understand Rwanda as we live it,” Dominique added, whilst she welcomed us in

Dominique Uwase Alonga, Author, Founder and CEO of ImagineWe Rwanda (Courtesy Photos)

the reading space for underprivileged children, hosted in Imagine We Rwanda’s offices in a quaint Kigali neighborhood. It is within this framework that 6000 books were collected -through a collaboration with American, Australian and local partners - and redistributed to more than thirteen underprivileged schools and public libraries. It is also how more than five hundred stories written by local writers were shared during the various editions of the KagireInkuru competition, initiated by the team at Imagine We Rwanda. Today, the NGO has transitioned and become a social enterprise that also acts as a publishing house for Rwandan authors. Two books have already been published and two more are in the pipeline. “Operating solely as an NGO was quite heavy as we depended extensively on partners and this limited us in a way. With the team we thought about starting our publishing house, which is something new here in Rwanda. We are very proud as it allows us to better reach our vision,” Dominique elaboratedon Imagine We Rwanda’s transition. The work of Imagine We Rwanda has been recognized several times, including by the Imbuto Foundation, the Akilah Institute and the Ministry of Youth and ICT. And it is safe to say that this is only the beginning, given that the organisation still has many projects, including setting up libraries in the pediatric rooms of five hospitals, which is already ongoing, and publishing more work by local authors. Imagine We Rwanda aspires to publish four more books by the end of the year. No doubt that the succession to oral tradition is on its way.

SEPTEMBER-NOVEMBER 2017 EDITION | 53

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Rwandair Inzozi Magazine September 2017  

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