Project Participant Testimonials

In addition to individual workshops, Paper Crown Institute offers secondary school girls the opportunity to participate in unique capacity building projects that are designed to address key issues they face as adolescent girls, as well as key areas of interest girls have told us they're keen to learn about. These projects run for 3 months and engage girls in critical discussion around a variety of topics, including leadership, gender, violence, career building, community development, and mentoring. Girls emerge more confident and courageous than ever before, with new life skills and practical abilities that will support them on their journey towards becoming successful young women leaders.

Below, we share some of the personal testimonials from our girl participants,
describing their experiences as they passed through these
in-depth, thought-provoking and inspiring 12-week projects.

The Uwicyeza Project, 2015

"I was invited by Pauline into this project but I didn’t know exactly what the project was all about. I said “yes” spontaneously but today I imagine the regret I could be having if I wasn’t a member in The Uwicyeza Project.

I used to be a shy girl with low self-esteem and I always had to hide this character because I was afraid I could be used if someone knew this weakness. The Uwicyeza Project awakened my mind to realize how great I am and the only challenge I’ve got is myself. I gained new skills around communication and networking, and this helped me to advance the skills I needed for making a project in my community. I know today that joining The Uwicyeza Project is one of the best decisions I have made in my life so far. So thank you, and thank you Katie, for being such a blessing to my life, you have inspired me so much to stimulate the growth of my self-esteem.

 This goes to all girls around the world – you are great and right now just think about what all you could have done if you had just stopped listening to the world."

- Hope, age 17

"This project is the first I have participated in, and it is the best. I learned many things, including skills like how to make jewelry, like bracelets with beads. I learned about how to build a project and implement it. I also learned about gender, what gender is, and the problems we face as girls. Now I also have communication skills. What I liked most about this project is that I now know how to work in a team, and I can express myself anywhere.

Before joining this project, I was so scared to talk to people and to express myself and share my ideas, but now I can share my ideas and convince people. This is a very great thing, and I will always remember this project because it changed my life and also my way of understanding. Our mentors also helped us learn life skills, like making earrings with “ibitenge”, now I can make them myself and sell them and have money. This project is a great project and I would like it to happen every year so that other girls can have the skills and knowledge that I have acquired from the project!"

- Divine, age 16

"Since the project started, I have come to learn so much about my community and was so impressed by my project team. In the beginning I wasn’t aware of what’s happening outside in the community around me, their problems and their weaknesses. Me being in the project made me feel so inspired to help others, not depending on having big or little capital (money) because that’s not what really matters most, what matters most is a willing heart for helping others. It was not only me who was inspired by our project but also the entire community. I am hoping that by the end of this project, many people will get inspired by our thoughts and ideas and actions, and that will help the community at large."

- Cynthia, age 18

"Since the project started, I learned a lot of things. The first is gender, I got the real view of gender and gender-based violence. I learned how no one can handle me the way he or she wants just because I am a girl. I also learned about leadership, how I can be an effective leader and also what makes a good leader. I realized that anyone can do something to develop his or her community, and that I have skills to share with others. I thank Paper Crown for all they have done for me!"

- Joyce, age 17

"From the time the project started, I learned different skills on my rights as a girl and I also the role I can play to help my fellow girls and share my experience. When we started working on the project, I was really impressed by the networking we did and working hand in hand with my friends and colleagues in the field. This taught me that in the future I can invent and bring something new into existence. I developed entrepreneurship skills that I had always looked for, because in school I would often hear about the theory of entrepreneurship.

These sessions for me opened my eyes to see that I can do something, it might be small but I can make an impact on my community. My mentor once said to us, “Baby, be big, the world is small”, and thanks to the Uwicyeza Project, I know I have potential and I won’t grow old without making the most of it."

- Solange, age 16

"I have learned so many things in the Uwicyeza Project, like overcoming shyness. I have learned also how I can solve my community’s problems by starting with a small amount of capital. I have also learned new skills that can help me to make money for myself, like making necklaces and many other things.

Above all, what I really gained or experienced from the project is the ability to network with different people, and this shows me that there is a future, there is hope when I use well the skills I have gained from The Uwicyeza Project. Thank you for building a better future and expanding our thoughts through this project, we shall use them to build our country and our world in general, because now I know that everything is possible."

- Emerance, age 17

The Queen's Gambit (Cohort #1) 2017... coming April 30th!