Former refugee makes good in Rwanda tourism
He never got a chance to go to school but this did not hold back his dream of becoming someone who could add value to his community.
Gregory Bakunzi was a Rwandan refugee in Uganda. Understandably he faced several challenges but managed to overcome them and become somewhat of a tourist genius. This has much to do with his determination, something that has stood him well ever since he was a little boy.
“I did not get a chance to go to school, but I am happy that I got to take my education from my experience, and from the challenges of surviving while in a Rwandan refugee camp in Uganda,” Bakunzi a man in his late thirties told East Afrian Business Week.
Bakunzi was born and raised in Uganda. He has two sisters and two brothers. The reasons behind being raised in a foreign land followed the bad experiences his parents went through during the 1959 period that forced many Rwandans to flee the country to neighboring countries such as Uganda, Burundi, and Tanzania among others.
Life in the refugee camp was hard for the Bakunzi’s family. To get something to eat the family had to wait for UN support to arrive. “After the fateful period of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi that gave many Rwandans a chance to come back to their own country, I managed to come back to my country of origin,” Bakunzi said.
On his return to Rwanda he struggled through lots of jobs from being a driver to starting up his own business which has seen him eventually become a notable tourism entrepreneur.
In 2001 the then young Bakunzi started Amahoro Tours. He began by accompanying tourists on long trips across the border and for shorter excursions into Rwanda. He later registered the company in 2003.
“Throughout my company’s growth I have worked with a variety of people as consultants,” he said. He said in the beginning he was lucky to have partners representing him at some of the largest travel expos in the world which showed him a viable path into the European tourism markets.
“If I can recall very well I did not have any capital at the start. “I just knew the value of my own ideas and because I was highly motivated to enter the tourism industry plus my direct experience as an entrepreneur in a developing country, all this gave me the tools needed to succeed,” he said.
SOURCE : HERE
Rwanda's 'gorilla guardian' - Eugene Rutagarama
The 1994 genocide in Rwanda could easily have finished off the mountain gorillas of the Virunga mountains. The fact that they survived is in large part thanks to Eugene Rutagarama. He spoke with Veronique Mistiaen about the primates' future prospects .
Rwandan biologist Eugene Rutagarama is widely credited for making sure that the victims of the genocide and subsequent wars didn't include the critically endangered mountain gorillas.
The gorillas have and are still contributing to the economic growth of the country - and this in turn is contributing to peace.
Today, nearly half of the world's 800-some remaining mountain gorillas live in the lush tropical forests covering the Virunga Mountains, the chain of volcanoes straddling Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rutagarama's conservation achievements won him the Goldman Environmental Prize - a kind of Nobel Prize for environmental activists - in 2001.
As people all over the world remember Rwanda's 1994 genocide - which was in full swing this month 20 years ago - I wanted to talk to Rutagarama about the remarkable recovery not only of the nation, but of the gorilla population, and his role in it.
FULL ARTICLES: : HERE
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