Lydie Hakizimana – The startup story of a textbook entrepreneur with an incredible vision for improving children’s literacy in Rwanda

If there is one woman who is living proof of the power of women entrepreneurs to make a real difference in the world, it is Lydie Hakizimana co-founder of Drakkar Limited in Rwanda

When Lydie Hakizimana returned to Rwanda after the genocide as a teenager, she found that her generation had lost all hope in the future. But she believed in the power of stories to provide people with not only a source of renewed hope and inspiration, but also escapism. Lydie wanted the next generation to imagine a happier story – not easy when painful memories of the genocide were still very raw.  Her own personal love affair with books and literature started early.  As a child, she vividly recalls being taught how to read by her mother and reading her first book L’Enfant Noir by Camara Laye in French at Les Etoiles Brilliantes a primary school in Chad.  Her mother was in charge of teaching literature at home and her father was in charge of teaching science. Today, she has a passion for improving children’s literacy in the country – that passion sowed the initial seeds of a new entrepreneurial venture that was to change her destiny.

“Ultimately, literacy opens our souls, our minds and our hearts to knowledge to transform our lives, our communities and our country for the best.” 

Lydie has an avowed commitment to building up the reading culture in Rwanda, which still remains undeveloped. She hopes to develop libraries in schools and hospitals providing children with free access to books. Drakkar Ltd is also involved in other activities, such as teacher training. Genocide forced her to spend most of her early life outside Rwanda, but as a survivor of that bleak period in the country’s history, she is now firmly committed to the country and sees entrepreneurial opportunities at every turn.  She is on a mission to make real change happen through literacy, ensuring the next generation can fulfill its potential.