Noah Mushimiyimana, Rapper and Ambassador, Keep a Child Alive
Noah Mushimiyimana is one of the millions of HIV-positive children worldwide, but his story is one of a kind.
In June of 2008, Noah had no idea his life was about to change. Leigh Blake, the co-founder of Keep a Child Alive (KCA) traveled to Kigali, Rwanda to the Icyuzuzo Clinic; one of many supported by KCA. After her work at the clinic, she visited a few patients' homes, one of which turned out to be Noah’s.
Leigh saw something vibrant in Noah’s eyes and she asked him what his biggest dream in life was. "I want to record an album of my music," he told Leigh.
“Here he was in the slums of Kigali dreaming such an enormous dream,” Leigh recalls. “He was someone with so little access to popular culture, really almost none at all. But as soon as he started rapping, I saw he had it—the talent and the intensity was in him— and I knew I had to find a way make his dream come true.”
Leigh invited Noah to perform at Keep a Child Alive’s Annual Fundraiser, The Black Ball in New York City, an a-list gala that he accepted enthusiastically. When Noah arrived in the US, he went straight to producer Swizz Beatz’s recording studio where he had his first taste of recording. Then, he met Alicia Keys, KCA’s co-founder, and one of Noah’s favorite artists. “Here I was in America, where anything is possible,” he recalls. Noah performed his rap “Brothers” at The Black Ball. The audience, including Alicia Keys, Bono, Padma Lakshmi, Tyra Banks, Queen Latifah erupted.
He returned to Rwanda, bringing hope to a place where it is desperately needed. "My Grandmother wants me to live in America now but says never to forget about her, and to send money back,” he says.
Today through his music, Noah has the power to transform not only his life and the lives of his family, but the futures of millions of people with HIV. Thanks to the life-saving medication and care provided by KCA, he is proving that HIV is not a death sentence for the millions of children infected by the disease, not unless we let it be.