Angel Mugabekazi ‘s story is one of resilience, courage, and the power of community support. At just 21 years old, Angel had already faced a traumatic experience that had left her feeling broken and alone. Then, in senior four school grade, Angel was raped by her teacher, who was supposed to protect and guide her. The incident profoundly impacted her mental health, causing her to suffer from anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“As the saying goes, there is always light at the end of every tunnel. I suffered a lot to the extent of taking my own life. But look at where I am today. Would you think I am the little vulnerable teen mother I was before meeting RICH?” So says Angel with a confident smile!
Angel refused to let this experience define her. With the help of the Rwanda Interfaith Council on Health (RICH) and their partners, she began to receive the psychological and financial support she needed to heal and rebuild her life. The organization provided counseling and therapy to help her process her trauma and learn coping strategies to manage her mental health.
They also provided Angel with financial assistance to support her and her young child, ensuring she could provide for their basic needs and continue her education. With their support, Angel was able to complete her senior 6 school grade and even went on to set up a beauty hairdressing salon in her native community, which is helping her to take care of her grandma and 4-year son.
“With my hairdressing salon, I’m now the breadwinner of my family, which by that time didn’t wish cross my way! I not only take care of my family’s basic needs but also pay school fees for my son and remain with some good savings after paying all taxes and operation costs,” adds Angel.
Throughout her journey, Angel found strength in support of her community and the love she had for her child. She became an advocate for survivors of sexual violence, using her experience to raise awareness and help others who had suffered similar trauma.
Through her thriving hairdressing business, she’s working to break down the stigma around mental health in her rural community of Kamonyi district, educating others about the importance of seeking help and support when needed.
“My beauty salon employs four permanent staff and from time to time receives interns who most of the time, share the same stories as mine. This way, I feel empowered to empower my fellow young women.” Reiterate Joselyne
Today, Angel is a thriving young woman with a successful career in hairdressing, a loving family, and a bright future. She is a shining example of how it is possible to overcome even the most difficult circumstances with the proper support and mindset. Her story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of community support to transform lives.
Angel Mugabekazi (nickname), a 21-years old young mother was raped by her teacher when she was only in her senior 4 school grade, she later got psychological and financial support from Rwanda Interfaith Council on Health and turned into a hairdressing businesswoman.