Isabelle Kamariza

One Young World Profile profiles

Isabelle Kamariza

Studies:
Universite de Saint Louis, Brussels

I am passionate about

The thing that I am most passionate about is tackling social inequality through the creation and development of social enterprise. I realised the importance of working towards overcoming social ills while I was in Belgium in 2009. It all began when I took a meal to a homeless man that I passed everyday on my commute to work. I then built, with a group of friends, a network of people who would distribute food to the needy in Brussels every weekend. Upon arrival in Rwanda in 2010, I turned my focus on increasing food security in Rwanda's public hospitals. The reason for this was not just to feed the hungry, but developed into providing assurance to the most social-economically vulnerable people in our national health service. In some cases, access to healthcare can bring numerous financial burdens. counter-acting the efforts of the government to provide healthcare to the masses.

In order to make this model viable, I have been driven to engage in building responsible business models that will create sustainable social enterprises that in turn will increase the level of social impact. Hopefully by leading by example, I hope to create a social enterprise model that can be replicated throughout the country, region and continent. What I wish to prove is that limited human and financial resources are not an excuse to do nothing. I value a philanthropic approach to daily life and consciously try to apply this to everything that I do. And by using resourcefulness and dedication, we are all capable of having significant social impact in the our communities.

Actions

When I first returned to Rwanda in 2010, I would visit the hospital and distribute the little milk that I could afford with my prayer partner Mama Zuzu who had a ritual of visiting daily with porridge and comfort, helping patients with issues where we could. This is when I discovered that meals are not included in the hospital stay and without money, friends or family, patients could go without eating. This was the inspiration behind founding my own Not for Profit organisation, Solid'Africa, in 2011 along with 7 other members. When we first launched, we were feeding a total of 5 patients, now the organisation feeds 400 patients on a daily basis. We concentrate on 5 main activities;
1.) Gemera Food for All. Providing lunch to 300 patients every Monday and breakfast for 300 patients Tuesday to Friday
2.) Kiza, a program created to aid those socio-economically challenged people and other special cases, who cannot manage to pay their medical expenses. This includes the provision of special care items such as cancer medication, crutches and burns medicine.

3.) Sukura was created to tackle hygiene issues and focuses on providing clothing items and personal hygienic products including soap, toilet paper and blankets etc.

4.) Dealing with hospital Bills and lack of transport are dealt with under the program Gombora. Here Solid’Africa does their best to support the neediest with paying outstanding hospital bills, release of held-in-cases and repatriation home through payment of transportation fees.

5.) The final program, called Menya, focuses on advocacy and awareness. The priority is informing the community on the availability of health services, promotion of public health programs and the implementation of projects to improve living conditions in public hospitals. Solid’Africa managed to install a children’s playroom at CHUK paediatric ward and filled it with toys and books. We have also managed to install a clean drinking water tank at CHUK.