The Bookseller of Rwanda
Co-founder of Drakkar Limited
Sector: Educational Textbook Distributor | Social Entrepreneur
Lydie Hakizimana is co-founder and Managing Director of Drakkar Limited, a reseller and distributor of educational textbooks in Rwanda. For Lydie, it all started back in 2006 when her passion for reading led her to open a small second-hand bookstore. Before long, her entrepreneurial instincts had her developing relationships with numerous publishing companies, eventually striking a deal with UK publisher, Pearson Education. Drakkar rapidly evolved into a leading educational textbooks reseller in Rwanda, becoming an important enabler of her country's vision for building a knowledge-based economy. Today, Lydie manages 45 employees and thirty part-time distributors.
Lydie is the chairperson of the Rwanda’s Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs and in 2012 she became a member of the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship Programme.
Lydie's Startup Story
If there is one woman who is living proof of the power of women entrepreneurs to make a real difference in the world, it is Lydie Hakizimana of Drakkar Limited in Rwanda.
When Lydie Hakizimana returned to Rwanda after the genocide as a teenager, she found that her generation had lost all hope in the future. But she believed in the power of stories to provide people with not only source of renewed hope and inspiration, but also escapism. Lydie wanted the next generation to imagine a happier story - not easy when painful memories of the genocide were still very raw. Her own personal love affair with books and literature spread into a passion that focused on improving children’s literacy in the country - it was to plant the seeds of a new entrepreneurial venture.
Lydie's story not only inspires, but it also reminds us that women entrepreneurs can make the most incredible difference to society, to communities and to other people's lives. Her commitment to building a reading culture in Rwanda is having a profoundly positive effect on future generations of young people in the country. --- Melanie Hawken, LoA founder & editor-in-chief
What's Drakkar all about?
Drakkar is a social enterprise started by the Rwandan entrepreneur, Lydie Hakizimana. She started it because of her passion to read and with a desire to spread a reading culture in Rwanda.
Drakkar supplies books to schools, higher educational institutes, teachers, students and other customers in need of learning books.
Drakkar has expanded into other activities such as teacher training to support teachers in the effective use of text books in the classroom.
“Ultimately, literacy is also the cornerstone of Agaciro (a solidarity fund initiated by Rwandans). It opens our souls, our minds and our hearts to knowledge to transform our lives, our communities and our country for the best. By participating, we each become leaders working towards Rwanda’s progress.”
Awards & Accolades
Lydie's recent awards and honours include:
- Lydie is the Chairperson of Rwanda's Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs at Private Sector Federation
- Lydie is the JCI Rwanda National President
- 2012, Lydie is nominated to the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship Programme
- 2012, Lydie is the winner of US AID's "All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge to Development" Award
- 2010, Lydie is selected Pearson 'Sales Representative of the Year'