Ntawirema told The New Times that the tour was aimed at equipping students with knowledge and skills about fashion. “The university management asked the students about a tour of their choice and they chose to tour a fashion house,” he says. He adds that Rupari Fashion was an appropriate venue because the proprietor, Cynthia Rupari, is a renowned fashionista in Kigali. Rupari started her career as a model in 2007 before she switched to designing three years ago. She quit her job in Cogebanque last year to concentrate on Rupari Design. With a tape measure hanging behind her neck, Rupari says this was her first experience with students.
“My previous experience has been with design houses like Rwanda Clothing, Uzuri and others where we visit each other and share experiences; this is the first time I’m dealing with students.” She adds that the students are curious and some may have a talent that they are yet to discover. The university’s partnership coordinator, Sylvia Uhirwa, said the students were actually on an orientation tour dubbed, “Get To Know Kigali”. “These are new students who reported recently,” she says. “Many are from outside Kigali while others are from neighbouring countries.” She explains that the tour wasn’t only about learning but about getting acclimatized to a whole new setting as well. One of the students, Fiona Umulisa, says that the tour inspired her to explore her creativity. “I’ve learnt that as long as one is creative, they can succeed in fashion. I intend to do business after my studies and this looks like a good idea,” she observes.
Kepler is a nonprofit higher education programme that operates a university campus in Kigali, Rwanda. All graduates of the programme receive an accredited U.S. degree through Southern New Hampshire University’s competency-based programme, College for America.