Janet Nkubana is a businesswoman and naturally talented speaker with the voice, heart and determination to empower the underprivileged women of Rwanda. Growing up in a refugee camp, it was hard for Nkubana to imagine life beyond the camp. But she managed to beat the odds against her by going to school and securing a church scholarship, which assured her a good education and a ticket out of the camp. She remembers on her first day of secondary school having to borrow her mother’s shoes before she got her own pair. Such memories are what drive Nkubana today to help those who are less privileged because she would have never left the refugee camp without the help of others.
Nkubana is president and co-founder of Gahaya Links Limited Rwanda, a handcraft export company. She is also a board executive of the Private Sector Federation’s Chamber of Commerce and Services. Nkubana was awarded the Hunger Project’s “Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger in 2008” as well as the Visionary Award from the Museum of Art and Design in New York for improving the lives of thousands of women and maintaining traditional basketweaving techniques.
She also founded the Gifted Hands Innovation Center where women share life experiences and make lasting friendships as they work on their handicrafts.