Gasana Mutesi, one of the youngest human rights leaders in Africa, will speak at two events in the Tampa Bay area this week.
Ms. Mutesi, president of the Rwandan not-for-profit youth training center, Amani Africa, is participating in a U.S. lecture tour to educate Americans about the need for continued support of humanitarian efforts in her country.
Amani Africa is a grass roots organization striving to establish sustainable peace in Central African postconflict communities by engaging young leaders in cross-cultural dialogue and providing opportunities to orphans and street children through education and training.
She will speak in downtown St. Petersburg at 7 p.m. today at the Studio@620 and at 8 p.m. on Friday at a fundraiser at Mise En Place Restaurant in Tampa. The fundraiser supports the new Amani Vocational School for youth in Nyamata, one of the poorest regions in Rwanda.
"We hope that Gasana's story will inspire young people everywhere to realize that they can make a difference in their community today," said Elizabeth Davis, executive director of Amani Africa.
Ms. Mutesi, 27, and her husband, Charles Nkazamyampi, a former Olympic runner from Burundi, and a team of young Rwandan volunteers engage approximately 5,000 youth in Amani Africa's activities, which include sports teams and cultural troupes, high school human rights clubs, and regionwide conferences. Amani Africa also supports 250 students through scholarships to attend local public schools.
This month is the 14th anniversary of the genocide that killed nearly 1-million people in Rwanda.
Though the country is now being hailed as a model of postconflict reconstruction in Africa, there are still thousands of street children and orphans throughout the country.
The Studio@620 is at 620 First Ave. S. For more information, call 895-6620.