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Komera is a non-profit organization based out of Impact Hub Boston that invests in young women in Rwanda. The organization selects 20-30 girls every year, from the most vulnerable families, and pays for their secondary school education, uniforms, health insurance stipends, sexual and reproductive health training and tutoring. Additional support is given to ensure that they go to a university, get a job, or start a business of their own. I spoke with Lauren recently about her work.

 

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Lauren Le Blanc in one of the Villages of Rwanda

My interest in my work at Komera began when I studied in college abroad in Tanzania. At that time, I was working with a women’s cooperative group around health, wellness, and microfinance to empower them to start their own businesses. I saw how women in different countries live and I began reflecting on my own privilege as a white female living the United States. The opportunities I have around education, family, and work set me up for success.

When you travel internationally and spend time with a local community, you become globally minded. What happens in other parts of the world affects us. Travel opened me up to others’ experiences and how I could take action to lift others up.

At Impact Hub Boston, I am inspired by small businesses and people doing similar work. Working with a small team or on your own can feel lonely, but there is so much opportunity for collaboration. We have collaborated with other organizations at the Hub specifically around marketing, strategy, and website. We learn from each other and that enhances our work.

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Komera Staff at Team Retreat

Three wishes…
  1. Everyone should have an opportunity to travel. There is no substitute for spending time with people that lead completely different lives than you and understanding their experience and perspective.
  2. Free education. Access to education would change the world.
  3. We achieve gender parity!
If I could go back and give myself three pieces of advice when I started with Komera
  1. Make connections with people doing similar work, learn from them and build a network of support.
  2. Try new things. Just because an event or activity has always been done in a certain way, that doesn’t mean it has to be the same way moving forward.
  3. Understand voice, mission, and passion of the organization you work for.