Grace's story

From surviving violence in Rwanda to making world-famous footballs, Grace dares to go after her dreams.

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My name is Grace

I dared to transform my life

If you had told me that I would go from a farmer to a businesswoman who shattered barriers for her family to live a comfortable life, I would doubt you. But things can change for the better if you dare to believe in yourself. 

After the genocide, hunger became a constant issue. I was not employed and had given up on farming. The only skill I had was making footballs, but trade was so unfamiliar to me that there was no profit, and I could not afford to buy the materials necessary to create them.

My heart was burdened with sorrow. My husband and I struggled to send our six children to school or provide for them.

We both cultivated other people’s crops; however, we did not benefit from our own harvest because the landowners would demand most of our portion. Despite these challenges, I continued to persevere and work hard for the welfare of my family, but it was a very difficult period in our lives. 

When Women for Women International came to my community, they were like a guiding light that offered me support and guidance to make a difference in my life and for my family. Though I was initially hesitant, I gathered the courage to attend group activities, where we were taught valuable skills in business, entrepreneurship and other topics and were given the ability to join a savings group.

I was so inspired by my training that I dared to step out of my comfort zone and suggested to the other women from my savings group that we should begin to create and sell footballs, a challenging goal since we would need support to obtain the materials needed.

Nevertheless, they agreed with the idea and Women for Women International provided us with the raw materials and machinery required to make our idea a reality. At first, we ran into issues with having enough materials to make the footballs, but in the end, we succeeded in our goal. Our work paid off for all of us; we’d originally entered the programme as women struggling to make ends meet, but day by day, we became successful businesswomen.

During the FIFA Cup in Rwanda, the President of FIFA even stopped by the centre with other officials. He was very impressed with the footballs we made and the time we took to ensure the quality. Later, we were all excited to hear that the President recognised our work during an event with the press! 

As a result of all this effort, I bought a plot of land with my earnings and plan to build a house, and this is just the beginning. I also plan to continue working and gradually build houses to rent and earn more money. In a few years, I will have saved enough to build a house for each of my children. I also want them to receive a good education and hope to leave them with a better life. I also hope that one day, I will have grandchildren who will come from a good background. I will support them all because now, I have the strength and ability to do so. 


Women’s rights are under attack across the world, whether it’s our right to speak up against injustice, choose what to wear, or decide what happens to our bodies. 

But women dare to challenge oppression with acts of defiance — even in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances. 

Meet other women who dare



In Afghanistan, Amina* dares to stand up for women’s rights. Women have been virtually erased from public life over the past two years: banned from parks, gyms, restaurants, most jobs and education. Opposing these restrictions is incredibly dangerous, but Amina dares to keep teaching in our training centre. She braves the constant scrutiny of government authorities and she dares to spread the word that education should be the right of every woman and girl.  



When Russia invaded, Iryna had the courage to stay in Ukraine. In a bomb shelter, she met women who had been sexually abused by Russian soldiers. Iryna dedicated her charity, The Andreev Foundation, to supporting women survivors of sexual violence. Women who speak out about sexual assault often face shame and suspicion, especially in rural areas of Ukraine. Iryna dares to believe survivors, to speak out against sexual violence and demand justice – despite the risk that the perpetrators will return.



Dada was forced to flee her home when Boko Haram threatened to kill her husband. Now she is a successful businesswoman and a leader in her community.