Starlight is an educational technology start-up created by Alice Mukashyaka, a 26-year-old Rwandan engineer who puts women recognized in science, technology, engineering and mathematics professions in the spotlight with the aim of inspiring young Rwandan women.
Launched in 2016 in Rwanda, the start-up Starlight created by Alice Mukashyaka, herself an engineer and originally from a rural family in the north of the country is on a mission to inspire young Rwandan women to engage in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields.
Rwanda is ahead in terms of female representation
In Rwanda, 61% of the members of parliament are women, the parliament is predominantly female and women are in charge of more than half the ministries. This is due to the 1994 genocide, which changed the country’s demography: at the end of the genocide, 70% of the population was female, but since then, the return of refugees has helped to erase this great imbalance. According to a report published by UN Women in 2015, 44% of Rwandan women report having experienced physical assault, 37% say they have been insulted or hit by their husbands. It is still common for women to be excluded from the education system by their families. Almost 70% of the population works in the agricultural sector, leaving little room for young women to imagine other career paths. Hence the initiative of Starlight Africa.
4,000 students sensitised
Starlight partnered with Career Girls, an American NGO that hosts a free online platform of video clips of inspiring women sharing career and education advice to encourage young girls to broaden their horizons, improve their academic performance and dream big for their future. Starlight Africa has designed an educational programme based on STEM career examples with videos of established women in these professional sectors. This growing website is a one-stop shop for empowerment. It already offers more than 400 role models and 8,000 video clips, “How Do I Do This” career information for the featured occupations, academic standards for K-12 students to be college ready, and links to other useful sites. Starlight Africa has delivered awareness-raising workshops to about 4,000 students in the country. The aim is to make STEM attractive to young girls and change their lives!
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