Meet Akilah Student Peggy Rusine Umutoni

Peggy was born in Kampala, Uganda, where her family had migrated in 1959 during a time that many regard as the “practice genocide.” She is the 8th born in a family of 10 children.  Her family returned to their home of Rwanda in the end of 1994, where they set up shelter in the country’s Eastern Province.

Four years after returning to Rwanda, Peggy’s father passed away in a car accident, leaving only her mother to care for the entire family. “We struggled when our father passed away. We lost the affection he gave us when he was alive,” she says, reminiscing about her relationship with her dad.

Peggy’s mother sought out ways to raise money for her children’s education. Eventually, she began renting out living space in order to obtain money for school fees. Peggy’s oldest sister helped out when she could, contributing the money she earned from working in the local medical insurance industry. Peggy attended both primary and secondary school in the Eastern Province, where she graduated in 2011. In school, Peggy brought her energetic spirit to all that she did. She was a member of the Anti-Sida club, which helps in the fight against AIDS, for four years and even served as the president. She was also the vice president of the school’s Media Club for two years. It was this position that led to a job post-graduation.

While in the Media Club, a representative from a local radio station came to visit. Peggy’s charisma left a lasting impression in his mind and in 2011 she was offered a job at Radio Izuba. Today, Peggy hosts her own weekly radio show that airs every Friday. In honor of Mother’s Day, she recently hosted a show discussing the many different responsibilities that comes with motherhood. Listeners are invited to call in and discuss various subjects with Peggy herself. After secondary school, Peggy split her time between the radio show and working as a customer care agent for Tigo, an African telecommunications company. Currently, she spends her weekends and free time working as a wedding MC. Her experience and love of hospitality ultimately led her to Akilah.

Since beginning class at Akilah in January 2012, Peggy’s animated presence has been heard and seen – often in the form of brightly colored hair accessories – all around campus. She is a member of the English Club, Human Rights Club and RotarAct Club, a Rotary sponsored campus club aimed at improving communities.  Outside of school, Peggy has been the president of a poetry and theater club called Abanzemugayo for two years. She also volunteers as the General Secretary for the Kayonza District. She obtained the position through a nomination by neighbors in her housing zone, based on her natural leadership ability. She campaigned and ultimately won the sector vote, followed by the district vote. Peggy feels that she is following the legacy of her father- a dedicated man who also volunteered for the government. “He was my role model,” she says, “my father was a leader. I follow his behavior.” It comes as no surprise that Peggy is both a role model and leader on campus.

When asked what her favorite class at Akilah is, Peggy cracks a smile and responds, “The yellow class, of course,” expressing her loyalty to her homeroom. “But my favorite course is Hospitality,” she declares. Peggy enjoys the many field trips that she takes with her Hospitality class, stating, “It helps me improve. I see customer care in action and I can replicate what was seen.”  She also enjoys her Leadership class, saying, “I’m excited to become a good leader. What I learn in class… I put it into action.”

Peggy is grateful to Akilah for the confidence it has given her in her English speaking ability. “Akilah made me comfortable speaking English,” she says proudly, “I speak with confidence and without fear because of what we do in the classroom at Akilah.” One day, Peggy hopes to work in a 5-star hotel. “We get high level skills from Akilah,” she says, discussing her aspirations for the future, “I will give good service to customers. I will be a good worker because of Akilah. Akilah gave me hope, hope for the best future life.”

2 thoughts on “Meet Akilah Student Peggy Rusine Umutoni

  • This type of personal testimony is encouraging. I enjoyed reading about her tenacity and how the good influence of her father affected her as an adult.

  • I had the pleasure of meeting Peggy and her classmates recently. Peggy is truly one of a kind and a great role model for her classmates. She’s bright, personable and I feel confident she will be successful in anything she sets her mind to.

    Akilah is making a difference in the lives of their students.

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