Alumna Spotlight: Ninah Kenyana


Ninah Kenyana graduated from Akilah Rwanda in 2012 with a diploma in Hospitality Management. Since then, she’s been on an upward trajectory at the Serena in Kigali, the only five-star hotel in Rwanda’s capital.

Ninah began as a phone operator right out of graduation, where her supervisors saw great potential in her ability to interact with hotel clients. After six months, she was promoted to work at the front desk, greeting and assisting the Serena’s top-notch clientele, including government ministers, business leaders, and heads of state. Her responsibilities continued to grow and she now works both at reception and in management as the supervisor of phone operators. At the front desk, she manages a team of nine and is an esteemed and valued member of staff.

The future didn’t always look so bright for Ninah, born in a large family of six children. In her student profile, Ninah discusses how she used to be afraid of people, and how her family tended a small garden and sold what they planted in order for all six children to go to school.

Ninah secured her job at the Serena because of the internship she completed at the hotel as part of her graduation requirements at Akilah:

I worked in many departments at the Serena during my internship and my bosses were so impressed by my hard work that they called Akilah and requested that I join their staff right after graduating. I have been working here ever since. I was chosen to work on the front desk because, unlike many of my colleagues, I am able to express myself to the clients and this is a skill I learned at Akilah. If I hadn’t gone to Akilah I don’t know where I would be now. It is very possible that I would not have a job – or certainly not one like this.

Although Ninah loves her job at the Serena, it has piqued her curiosity about other opportunities in related industries, such as tourism. She hopes to make the transition in the next couple of years. She attributes this confidence to her studies and the nurturing environment at Akilah:

I love my job here but Akilah has taught me not to limit myself. I’ve learned so much by working here. I believe that there may be even greater prospects for my career in different industries and I am keen to explore all of my options.

Ninah advises Akilah’s current students to take their careers seriously, be flexible, and most importantly to have passion for what they are doing and a belief in themselves. As the interview wound down, Ninah wanted to make sure that a few words reach Akilah’s generous supporters and dedicated staff:

I would just like to thank everyone working at Akilah, and particularly the donors who sponsored my education. I would not be where I am today without you and I cannot express the depth of my emotions and feelings of gratitude towards you all. You are blessed.

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