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Editors Note

Posted by Editor On Mar - 14 - 2011

It seems that with every new month, I’m personally faced with the desire to ‘move on up’; forward, to progress in all aspects. This means continually setting new goals and striving to achieve them. Where am I getting with this, you ask, well, each month I look forward to making this magazine something greater. It’s slowly taking form, we might not be ‘movin on up to a New York deluxe apartment on the East side’ like George and Weezy, but I have played with the thought of seeing AfroElle in greater places.

Mangoes and Lemon

Posted by Editor On Mar - 14 - 2011

Mangoes and Lemonade is a website that is dedicated to sharing information and resources that can help people of Haiti, while serving as a reference place for those who are interested in getting involved with relief of sorts. My vision is to continue building the site and allow it to grow into a more effective tool over time.

Cover Story:A Jill of All Trades

Posted by Editor On Mar - 14 - 2011

A phenomenal woman to me is one that has a great purpose; she is passionate, compassionate, humble, caring and giving. She exudes a beauty that reflects great values, wisdom and strength. She is one that will use her influence to bring about positive change. She is a servant.

Featured Couple:Jonathon and Amy Mauritz

Posted by Editor On Mar - 14 - 2011

Amy Ohen and Jonathon Mauritz met at a coffee shop. When asked what her first impression of Jonathon was, Amy says she thought Jonathon was a college frat boy. “I was surprised that he was flirting with me because I was minding my own business studying in my comfy sweatpants and t-shirt. I was definitely not looking my finest.

In The Kitchen With Yolis Green Living

Posted by Editor On Mar - 14 - 2011

I started eating plant-based diet in 2001. At the time, I wanted to impress a guy I was dating with my culinary skills and converting foods I loved to eat into vegan meals, it soon became second nature to me. Over a few months, I noticed some significant changes just from choosing differently in what I consumed. Lost a lot of weight, had fewer allergies, and my cramps disappeared. I acknowledged that my results were payoff of eliminating dairy from my diet.

Sisterpreneurs;Emily and Irene Wasonga

Posted by Editor On Mar - 14 - 2011

Love’s Hangover is the name of a boutique jewelry store in Noblesville, IN co-owned by two sisters; Emily and Irene Wasonga. Born and raised in Kenya and living partly in Botswana; the two are now making their dreams come true with their jewelry business that started out as hobby in their teenage years.

Fashionista;Christine Neptune

Posted by Editor On Mar - 14 - 2011

I try to master the "boyfriend look". Baggy shirts, sweatshirts, men's button up's and such. I might not have a boyfriend but taking my brother's clothes work just as well. I like the mystery it brings behind it, people wonder and question me if I'm a tomboy.

Phenomenal Woman: Ornella Umubyeyi

Posted by AfroElle On 12:35 PM
"God didn’t place you where you are to be changed, but to be the change."-Ornella S. Umubyeyi

Ornella Umubyeyi is not your average Twenty year old, born in Bunjumbura, Burundi and the second born in a family of five, Ornella spent her childhood in Burundi and later on in Rwanda before moving to the United States on a Scholarship at the age of 16.

We talk to Ornella; a student at Ripon College in Wisconsin and the founder of 'Soul Surviours' Project' that aims to help orphans and children in Rwanda and around Africa with education.

To a stranger who is Ornella?

Ornella: I’m a lively, outgoing person who loves people. I live a life that tries to reflect Christ in me. I’m very social and I like to be around people. In my interactions I don’t try hard to impress people but to remain true to myself.

Ornella and Ethiopia and Senegal Representatives
at the National African Student Association Conference

Apart from being a motivational speaker, leadership trainer and mentor,what else do you do?

Ornella: Well, I’m first a student in College in the US. I’m involved in a lot of activities, I’m public motivational speaker, preacher, author, poet, photographer, preacher, author, Human rights activist, Leadership trainer and mentor and a counselor.

How do you juggle all these activities?

Ornella: Time management! Let me share with you the secret! See, many people think that you have to “find” the time in order to do everything you are supposed to do, but actually you have to “make” the time! When you wait to find the time to do a task, you will NEVER find the time, why? Because something else will always come up so MAKING the time through time management is how I juggle with all my activities.

You have published your own book, Life Beyond Sight, what inspired you to write this book?

Ornella: My main inspiration was from God! He inspired me to write this book and my foundation was His word; the Bible. We call ourselves Christians but rarely take the time to read the Bible, which is necessary. So God told me to write the book, to encourage those who still are holding on to Him to not give up on Him, since He hasn’t given up on us.

" Ornella Umubyeyi shows the power of a woman in a society.
She is an inspiration to me and I think that every young lady out there
should follow her footsteps. She is a leader to follow"
-Eric Bisong, CEO of Global Coalition for the Empowerement of African Youth

I also felt God using me to remind people that He works through anyone no matter the age, background, location or race. Being a Christian is not being ignorant and close-minded, but it’s more of being dependent on God while being independent in the world through your talents and gifts. Last but not least, to encourage the young generation, mostly Africans to READ! Reading is a way of educating yourself and a journey on discoveries.

“In her book Life Beyond Sight, author Ornella Umubyeyi has succeeded in creating an inspirational and effective step-by-step "how-to" book about life and struggle, based on a firm faith conviction, that is sure to provide guidance in taking control of one's life to encourage one to reach their full potential. Umubyeyi proves that the key to a good life is all about attitude and personal philosophy, especially if that life is grounded on biblical principles.” 
- Melanie Tomsons, Executive director of Never Again International – Canada

In a nutshell what is 'Life Beyond Sight' about?

Ornella: The book is about life through the eyes of a new generation from a Christian perspective. There are many books published by pastors, people with PhDs or researchers but very few young people who discuss about God. My book is about how we as humans have lost the real sense of life, we are not living life anymore, but life is living us! We call ourselves independent but yet, we depend on time, society, our jobs, and the media, money etc…that they have become our priorities while families, friends, our church families, our spiritual needs are not anymore. The book shows through different chapters; how what used to be important is not important anymore and what used to be less important is and the true disadvantages of that. I mostly focus on how Christians of today want God to work according to our will and needs but we never want to submit and give up our old ways of living.

Ornella with Ghanaian Dr. Ave K. Kludze, a senior NASA
Engineer who was profiled on CNN and BBC
for his outstanding accomplishments in Space Science and Technology

Ornella with friends
Ornella with her mother, sister and friend

Are you in the process of writing any more books?

Ornella: Yes, I am! I also have a collection of poems and quotations that my close friends have read, that I have shared with and really have encourage me to publish them while I also want to promote my photography work, so I might have a very unique book coming up! I am working on a book about Leadership which I have started last year! I am very excited about it even though it is not meant to be published anytime soon.

You are involved in a lot of community service projects, tell us more about that.

Ornella: I love PEOPLE! You cannot be involved in community service projects unless you love people! I have been involved with orphans since I was 16 and even though I grew up having parents, I still wanted to give them a chance to have a childhood they never had and make a difference in their lives. I still have that passion of helping and I normally visit some of the orphans I have helped, never stopped and some of the orphans I have helped as we have become friends. It’s just amazing really! It’s one of my favorite things to do; to be a voice to the voiceless; the best job and it's 100%satisfying!

Ornella's photography work

What are some of your upcoming projects?

Ornella: There are many! But some important ones include fundraising for two orphanages back home in Rwanda; one in Gitarama and one in Kigali. I am also working on starting a reality show to promote unity and tell the stories of the less fortunate and those with disabilities. I am also working on a script that I want to send to Hollywood by the end of 2011. But my upcoming My project is me hitting the gym every day.

Ornella donating clothes during a visit to Urukundo Village
Orphanage (an independent home for Rwandan Children)

What is your definition of true success?

Ornella: Ah! Good question, Wisdom and Humility are the two KEYS to a successful life! Success is not about money, because you might have a big home but you might not want to go home after work. You might have the highest position in your job or career but you are living a purposeless life. Wisdom teaches you to fear the Lord and that is the first step to greatness, and humility makes and give you respect wherever you go and have a peaceful life. I define true success by what’s with IN not what’s with OUT. 

It’s important, to know your purpose in life. Purpose means knowing what God has called you to be, because at the end, we are human BEINGS not human DOINGS, so true success is not about what we HAVE but who we ARE.

What is one thing you want the world to remember you by?

"Ornella is a spirit like no other. She knows how to relate to
every person she meets."
-Sera Lubowa,Miss Uganda, Singer and top model

Ornella: Hard question to answer but I will say that I want the world to remember me by my values and virtues, from what I lived by, not what I said. I want to be remembered as someone who lived to serve others, who lived by the word of God and reflected the image of Jesus through her lifestyle and her achievements.

Are you a woman making your dreams come true? A creative? Or do you want to share your story to encourage, empower and elevate other women? Phenomenal Women is the feature for you, write to us at [email protected]. We would love to feature you.


1 Response to "Phenomenal Woman: Ornella Umubyeyi"

  1. Oliver Ngoga Said,

    I personally know Ornella, she's an amazing girl!


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    AfroElle is an online destination for women of Afro-decent around the world.AfroElle's overall aim is to provide content for black women around the world and for them to find empowerment and encouraged to lead fulfilled lives through this magazine style blog.
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