Fabiola from Rwanda



"We had the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and to me, an unexpected emergent property that came out of that was innovation.


People were so desperate to get as far as possible away from that climate of misery, that whatever it took, that no matter how many trials and errors they faced, they were willing to try new things and be innovative.


I think human beings are so capable and the genocide enabled us to realise our capability to rise out of that. As horrible as it was, it catapulted us into something beautiful, that the younger generation can look up to the older generation and be connected through that resilience.


When I think of my parents and the millennial generation, I think they have different types of resilience.


For my parents, they had survived many difficulties when our country was healing.


But for our generation, lots of things are changing, the government wants the youth to be in charge of a lot of things now. In the past youth were quiet and passive. Now our youth have to adapt really quickly, life is harder for job opportunities.


My parents knew when you graduated the government would assign you a job. For us its unclear. Do I go into entrepreneurship? What path do we take? There are so many more job options. Everyone is educated, not just a few like before, so how do you differentiate yourself?


And we have to deal with parents who are not necessarily so current or informed, and who may be trying to box you in certain paths.


I’m trying to figure how this new world works and this means teaching myself, not just asking my professor or teacher, but always thinking “What else do I need to be learning” and “Am I doing this as efficiently as possible?”.

But at the same time I worry about having a network that is good enough, and being able to get the connections to pierce through certain circles so that I can find success.


In Rwanda we do national exams and I could not believe that I got the best marks in the country. Somewhere in my mind I thought there was a 0.001% chance I could do this but I didn’t allow myself to hope for it.


I relied on the idea that I needed to operate on a A+ level even if the world around me is operating at a C level all of the time.


I constantly check if I'm challenging myself. If I finding myself flowing through it, it usually means I'm just being "ok".


Some days its fine being ok but especially in times when you’re striving for something that you really want, it's important that you operate at the A level and do the extra work.


Consistency is also important. I really committed myself to developing that learning muscle.


What I did was to study with 2 of my friends at a specific time. From Monday to Friday at 5 pm, come rain or shine. Especially on those days where you don’t feel like it, you need friends to push you.


I was constantly in my mind priming myself. Remember your goal.


Success is not about getting to be the best, it is connecting to the bigger purpose after that, who do i get to be after that success."


- Interview with Fabiola Kabera, a 22-year old graduate from Minerva Project at KGI, as told to Crystal Lim-Lange



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