#30for30 – Francoise

Francoise Niyigena was born in Rwanda. She is an orphan, her father was killed during the genocide and her mother passed away to disease. Growing up Francoise lived with her grandmother in a rural village two hours away from Rwanda’s capital Kigali, surrounded by poverty, disease and struggle. She lived in cramped conditions, sharing the dwelling with not only her grandmother, but with her sister, her aunt and her two young children, and a young uncle.

In 2003 an 8 year old Francoise was selected to be in the 24th African Children’s Choir. She trained with her fellow Choir members at the African Children’s Choir Training Academy in Makindye, Uganda, before setting off on tour – performing to crowds across North America.

Choir 24 - African Children's Choir

Francoise, pictured far left with her hands on the drum, in the official Choir 24 photograph.

After her exciting, educational and life changing experience touring, Francoise was sponsored through The African Children’s Choir programme to attend The African Children’s Choir Primary School in Uganda, where all her needs were taken care of. She showed great excellence in her academic ability throughout her primary studies and was later accepted into a quality secondary school back in her home country of Rwanda.

Francoise performed top of her class throughout her secondary studies. She was elected as a student leader and every time we visited the school to catch up on her progress the headmistresses had nothing but high praise to bestow on this intellectual and confident young girl.

Determined to make a difference in the lives of her family, Francoise saved the little pocket money given to her, and had electric lights installed into her grandmother’s house. Her next goal? To buy cement for a proper floor.

Francoise African Children's Choir

Francoise now

Now, at 18, Francoise is a focused and determined student, believing that God has bought her this far not to fail. Uncle Abraham visited Francoise just before she was about to take her secondary exams, with a tuition scholarship on offer to the top five students in the country, the stakes were high. Francoise turned to Uncle Abraham and said with passion “Uncle, I am going to get that scholarship”.

We are so pleased and proud to report that Francoise not only got her tuition scholarship – she came second out of the entire country of Rwanda. As a result of this tremendous achievement Francoise has now started her further studies and hopes to go on to become a doctor.

As we share inspirational stories from our 30 year history please consider being part of our #30for30 campaign here.