Meet Gisèle Kahatane from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Tour Guide and Director of Gorilla Ambassadors

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Born in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gisèle Kahatane is a 27 year old girl who was separated from her biological parents since childhood. This situation affected her and led her to be shy and to frustration with her schoolmates. With the great passion to discover the outside world, her choices at school were always turned to the fields that could allow her to break her silence and be open to the world with the great dream to have an impact on the surrounding world. That’s why, at the end of her studies, she started working in tourism with the Congo Tourism Gate organization as a Tour Guide and Director of an environmental education program called “Gorilla Ambassadors” where she trained more than 2000 young school children bordering the Virunga National Park on nature protection and conservation and the fight against climate change.

Gisèle graduated in Project Management and Administration at the Institut Supérieur des Arts et Métiers (ISAM) in Goma and his second degree in Tourism and Environmental Management at the Institut Supérieur de Tourisme (ISTOU) in Goma. An alumnus of the prestigious Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) program at the East African Regional Leadership Center in Nairobi, Gisèle has received several awards of excellence and merit including the OD Impact Award with Opportunity and was listed as one of the top 30 changemakers in 2022, the UWEMA asbl Award of Excellence as an Inspirational Woman in Tourism

Gisèle and tourists in a tour

Tourism and environmental education at the forefront

Congo Tourism Gate is an organization created since 2017 by a group of 7 youth activists and ambitious with the aim to contribute to the development of the country through the promotion of tourism and nature conservation. Apart from the DRC, the organization regularly provides trips to 3 countries in East Africa including Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. In the context of conservation and protection of nature, these young people have set up an environmental education program called “Gorilla Ambassadors” directed by Gisèle Kahatane. With this program, more than 2000 young school children from schools along the Virunga National Park have been trained on the protection and conservation of nature and the fight against climate change since 2019.

The creation of that organization is in line with jobs creation in order to contribute to the reduction of unemployment in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “The rate of unemployment in the DRC is one of the most critical in the world. Unemployment affects almost half of the population, especially the youth. Despite the studies completed, finding a job in the Congo is sometimes a miracle, waiting for a job from the government is a waste of time for many. Faced with this situation, the idea was born to create the organization Congo Tourism Gate not only with the sole purpose of contributing to the development of the country but also to contribute to the promotion of tourism in the DRC by creating jobs for youth”, tells us Gisèle.

Passion above all

While Gisèle was in school, she had the chance to work in some NGOs and companies that unfortunately did not meet her expectations and my ambitions. So, sh decided to give up everything and put all her attention and energy into the Congo Tourism Gate organization and this allowed her to follow her dreams with passion up to now. “Within the organization, I enjoy most interacting with people from different communities that gives me the opportunity to expand the organization’s networks and access more opportunities that inspire me to bring more change in my community”, she puts.

Gisèle with tourists

At the beginning, the biggest obstacle she faced was when she decided to resign her contract in a trading company and to concentrate on the organization Congo Tourism Gate permanently. “I was not paid. My family and friends took it as a nonsense because they did not see any future in such a young organization. The second challenge was to have integrated a sector that is usually operated by only men because it’s a sector that requires more energy and courage. Being among men alone sometimes was frustrating and some people around me called it a deviation from my femininity”, she regrets.

Gisèle with tourists

Keeping her head up, being brave, keeping the motivation and determination to keep going was the only tool that allowed her to overcome these obstacles. Today, Gisele’s craziest dream is to visit the Amazonia. Hence, she would like the world to remember her continuous fight for the preservation and protection of nature and how her courage keeps distinguishing her as an inspiring lady. “My wish is that Congo Tourism Gate get known as a remarkable organization in tourism promotion in the DRC”, she underlines.

Gisèle with tourists

According to her experience, Gisèle advises the youth, especially ladies, to believe and work seriously on their dreams and ambitions so that they become realistic. “Not only young men but also us as young ladies, aspiring to marriage should never be a drag or even an argument to give up on our dreams and ambitions”, she concludes.

If you’re a tourist and you want visit the Democratic Republic of Congo, you can reach out to Congo Tourism Gate on the following platforms:
https://www.congotourismegate.org/
https://www.instagram.com/congotourismgate/

https://www.tiktok.com/@congotourismgate
https://twitter.com/Congotourismga1

https://www.facebook.com/congotourismgate/

 

Melchisedeck Boshirwa

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