Niyomugeri Silvia, 13 years old, Rukara, Rwanda

“I saw you over there leading the chants in warm up.”

“Yeah, it’s something I enjoy doing.  It helps me and the girls feel awake and ready for practice.  I enjoy leading.”

“What’s it like to lead this group of girls?”

“I feel great, I like when people follow me.  I want to be a leader in life.  Even in class, if the students are talking while the teacher is talking, I let them know so they quiet down.” 

“What is your family like?  Have you been a natural leader your whole life?”

“There are four kids, my mom, and my dad. I’m the youngest. But my older siblings are not around, and so I have become independent in my life.  I use that here at practice and others follow.”

“What’s it like being a female basketball player in Rwanda?”

“I’m very proud.  I usually only see boys playing.”

“The girls listen to you so well at the court.  Do you see yourself as maybe being a coach someday?”

“They do listen to me! And yes! I actually didn’t know it was possible for me at first.  I saw Jordan come to coach, but she is from America.  When Aline came to us as a new coach this month, I learned for the first time that it is possible for girls like me to have a future in coaching.”

“Talk about your relationship with the other girls.”

“I love my teammates.  I even encourage many to come.  Some listen, some don’t.”

“Why don’t some listen?”

“Girls in Rwanda have the responsibility of taking care of the younger siblings or doing other chores at home.  I’m the youngest in my family, so I have more free time.”

“How do you feel being a part of Shooting Touch?”

“I feel changed.  When I play basketball, I’m able to see two images now; one is me as a basketball player and the other is me in my everyday activities.  They both learn from each other.  When I help my team by passing and communicating, we score baskets and win. In my everyday activities, if I can help another, we can both succeed. We reach success as a team, here and in life.”