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article imageThe Komera Project's run for girls in Rwanda now a global affair Special

By Marcus Hondro     May 23, 2013 in World
An annual run in Rwanda to benefit young girls and women is expanding to a global affair this year. The run is part of The Komera Project, a movement that awards scholarships to young women in that country.
The Komera Project, an initiative began by Exec. Dir. Margaret Butler in collaboration with Partners in Health and local government and schools was created to, as their website says, "...assist girls who have the courage and desire to pursue secondary education, but lack the resources to do so." To date, The Komera Project has given scholarships to 75 Rwandan girls to pursue an education past primary years.
And counting.
The run has primarily been held only in Rwanda, though one year it expanded to Butler's home town in Canada on Bowen Island. This year the run is on June 19 and in addition to Rwanda and again Bowen, there will also be Komera runs on that date in NYC, Boston (where Butler now lives and works), Seattle, Portland and Beijing.
The Komera Project: education for young Rwandan girls
Five years ago Butler was living in a remote village in Rwanda, working for the Clinton Foundation. She ran daily in the 'land of a thousand hills' and while doing so one day something very special happened.
“I found that there were many boys running with me but rarely girls," she told Digital Journal. "One early morning run a brazen girl started to run with me. She was amazing. This little sequence gave me the start of an idea. I knew I wanted to start a scholarship fund for girls in secondary school so they felt like there was hope (to continue learning).
“I also knew I wanted to do something with the community to celebrate girls and educate everyone on the importance of girls/women and girls education," she added. "I worked with local government and schools and 10 girls were selected to be the first set of Komera scholars. They were selected because they were the most impoverished yet at the same time showed a zeal to continue on with their education.”
Komera Global Run: raises funds
She organized a 'fun run' for girls, and it turned out wonderfully, she says. Not only did girls come out and run, many for the first time, but others, boys included, stood on the side and cheered them on. They shouted "komera, komera" which in the local dialect means “be strong and courageous.” That first year of the project, 10 young girls, each who came from impoverishment, took up the challenge to continue their education. The run, and the project, had taken off.
"We believe in the power of running to promote Girls' Education around the world," Butler said. "For the past four years we have hosted a Girls' Fun Run in Rwanda and this year we decided that we wanted to invite our friends around the world to run with us in solidarity.
"On June 19th I will be running in Rwinkwavu with our Komera Scholars and I hope people will lace up their runners and take a run with me!"
Girls, boys and adults of all ages have run for Komera, helping raise the funds for scholarships and enjoying together the outdoors. To join a run or start one in your community, you can get information on The Komera Project website, linked above. Feel a little daunted by the task of getting involved?
"Komera, komera."
More about rwanda run for girls, komera komera, margaret butler of the komera project, global run for rwanda
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