Kigali, 3 December 2023 – In a world where inclusivity often remains a challenge, two ambitious Project Management students, Kevin Henry Jordan Uwizeyimana and Chanceline Umuyange, found a nurturing environment at Kepler, a place committed to supporting students with disabilities. Their journey began in different years, with Chanceline starting at Kepler in 2022 and Jordan joining a year later in 2023. Despite their different backgrounds, they shared a common goal: to overcome societal barriers and achieve their dreams.
Jordan, a young man with short stature disability, arrived at Kepler with apprehensions about whether the institution could cater to his unique needs. He needed a learning space that would accommodate his needs without making him feel different. To his relief, Kepler provided him with all the necessary equipment, including a custom table.
“Coming here at Kepler, I was very anxious. But they were able to provide me with all the equipment that allows me to pursue my academics very well, like the table which fits me so that I can type on my computer comfortably,’ he said.
This seemingly small adjustment made a significant impact on Jordan’s academic life, enabling him to develop his skills in typing, critical thinking, and public speaking. He now enjoys the green environment, the sports infrastructure, and, most importantly, the supportive community that sees him for his abilities, not his disabilities.
Meanwhile, Chanceline has a locomotor disability in her left leg. A vibrant spirit with dreams as high as the sky, she joined Kepler with aspirations that soared beyond conventional boundaries. Chanceline enjoys academic trips and learning new skills; and aspires to become an accomplished business woman.
‘I want to become a successful project manager, where I will create an online trading company that is inclusive to everyone. And also, I want to be a professional volleyball player,’ she said.
Chanceline’s dream underscores her belief in inclusivity and her determination to break stereotypes.
As the world joins the voice to observe the International Day of Persons with Disabilities under the theme ‘United in action to rescue and achieve the sustainable development goals for, with, and by persons with disabilities,’ both Jordan and Chanceline stand as proud representatives of a group often overlooked.
“People have to change their mindset because what you might see physically is different from what I have inside me. We have so much potential of what we can achieve,” Jordan emphasized.
Jordan is determined to become an impactful Manufacturing Engineer. His mantra, “Having a short stature doesn’t mean that I can’t build a skyscraper,” serves as a reminder of the boundless potential within each individual, regardless of physical stature or ability.
Chanceline echoed this sentiment, urging for greater inclusivity.
“We need to spread messages that individuals with disabilities are an integral part of our community, that they possess unique strength and capabilities,” she noted.
Through the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) and Humanitarian Affairs department, Kepler has been fostering an environment where students like Jordan and Chanceline can thrive.
Leona Laura Uwizihiwe, the Associate Director of DE&I and Humanitarian Affairs at Kepler, underscored the institution’s commitment to providing an inclusive environment where every student, regardless of their physical abilities, can chase their dreams.
“At Kepler, we’re not just educating; we’re building a world where every individual, regardless of their physical abilities, can dream and achieve. Jordan and Chanceline are living proof that with the right support and environment, every goal, no matter how big, is achievable. We are committed to continuing our efforts in making education accessible to all,” she asserted.
Key to Kepler’s mission is empowering underserved communities — refugees, economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities. In the Bachelor’s program, at least 30% of the scholarships provided are reserved for these groups, with 5% coming from disability communities.