April 26, 2018

Celebrating the Remarkable Women of Rwanda

By Sheila Turabaz.

Elegantly and traditionally dressed Rwandan women gathered in the ballroom of the Hilton Hotel in the Hague for a festive evening on the occasion of International Women’s Day (IWD), organized by the Embassy of Rwanda in collaboration with the Rwanda Women’s Association of the Netherlands.

This year’s International Women’s Day 2018 was centered on the theme: “Rwandan women at the forefront of sustainable development: Building the Rwanda we want” and celebrating women’s economic, political, social and cultural contributions and accomplishments in Rwanda.

The evening commenced with an opening dance by members of the Rwanda Women’s Association of the Netherlands, followed by powerful speeches delivered by author and a member of the Rwandan diaspora in Belgium, Marie Chantal Uwitonze and Safari Christine, chairperson of the Women’s Association.

For additional images, please open the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/121611753@N07/albums/72157667640015128

H.E. Jean Pierre Karabaranga, Ambassador of Rwanda.

More than two decades have passed since the world was shocked to learn of the genocidethat took place in Rwanda in 1994,and fortunately much has changed since then, as Rwanda has taken great strides on its road to recovery. As exemplified by theWorld Economic Gender Gap Report 2017, in which Rwanda was ranked 4th worldwide. Women have played a significant role in rebuilding the nation, as underlined by H.E. Ambassador Jean Pierre Karabaranga in his speech (while quoting H.E. Mr. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda):

“It’s no accident that the renewal of Rwanda was also accompanied by significant upgrades in the status, roles and responsibilities of women. (…) Women are a cornerstone of prosperity for society as a whole. Even in situations of conflict, they are in a position to make unique contributions to peace and stability.”

Furthermore, the Ambassador has stated that women hold key leadership roles in Rwanda and that an impressive 64% of parliamentarians are women, the highest percentage of any parliament in the world.

Furthermore, the charismatic Ambassador doesn’t shy away from showing off his dance skills as evidenced by his performance of a traditional Rwandan dance, certainly setting the tone for the rest of evening.

The absolute highlight of the evening was the opening dance of the Kigali Fashion Week and a catwalk show organized by up-and-coming Rwandan fashion designers, showcasing their unique (mostly modern but with a traditional twist) fashion designs.

Beautiful evening wear in rich and colourful fabrics and casual outfits showcasing the very best the Rwandan fashion scene has to offer. Men and women graced the catwalk in designs made in Rwanda by Seraphina, Sol & Wax designer ltd., Fathia Creations, Sandrine Horn, Delphines, D’ zoyanKreationz, Hakym Reagan, Mimi’z and IZUBA clothing.

Rwanda fashion show.

The event is also part of an on-going campaign to promote Rwanda’sartistic talent and to stimulate people to purchase products that are made in the country.

More than 300 guests including members of the diplomatic corps, civil society and the Rwandan diaspora attended the annual International Women’s Day celebration. The event was well organized and a wonderful way of expressinggratitude to the strong Rwandan women and their remarkable contribution to the development of their country in the last 24 years.

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Pictures by the Embassy of Rwanda in The Hague.

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