Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Teacher creates niche in cosmetic products

1383686850NshyimyumuThis year, Céphas Nshimyumuremyi was recognised by the Ministry of Education as an innovator during the annual Teachers’ Day.

He was also recognised by the Rwanda Education Board because of his support in research training offered to secondary students.

This is mainly because the 28-year-old Nshimyumuremyi set up the Uburanga Products Ltd, a new small sized company in Nkotsi Sector, Musanze District two years ago. The company makes cosmetic products from locally harvested herbs.

His dream to start a cosmetics producing company was inspired by research at school on medicinal plants which can be used to treat some skin and internal diseases.

The Musanze District resident holds a diploma in education, majoring in Mathematics and Physics from Kavumu College of Education.

Uburanga (loosely translated as ‘beautification), produces three products, namely; Uburanga Vaseline, Uburanga Petroleum Jelly, Uburanga Glyselyne and is in the final stages of making Uburanga Soap.

These anti-bacteria products make the skin softer, beautiful and disease free.

A member of a cooperative of traditional healers in Ngororero District, where he also got some skills on medicinal plants, Nshimyumuremyi is also a science teacher at Groupe Scolaire Kabaya in Musanze District.

“I have always loved Biology and had special interest in several medicinal plants. I knew these plants were medicine and  wish I had the knowledge then to make medicine out of them,” he says.

“When I completed secondary school, I worked with a traditional healers cooperative  from where I learnt a lot  about traditional medicine. But I realised it was not enough and conducted research on how to make better herbal medicine from the available medicinal plants,” he says.

In 2010, Nshimyumuremyi started contacting special botanists, reading books and conducting online research. During the process, he found some specific plants that could kill bacteria.

“I got six of them, dried them, pounded them into powder and mixed them with some special imported powder,” he said.

His first sample was ready in 2011.

Then, in November 2012, he got support from Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to carry out laboratory tests for his products.

“That is when the Rwanda Bureau of Standards authorised me to work with a referral laboratory and they approved my products. That is how I started making products,” he said from his mini-labaratory at the Institut Superieur de Ruhengeri (INES).

How he tested them

Nshimyumuremyi, who has a few staff on payroll, says after identifying medicinal plants, they apply the additive extracts on different micro bio samples which are supposed to have human skin parasites such as fungi and yeast.

“We collect samples from patients with any sort of skin disease, then take them to the laboratory for microbial analysis that pass through stages such as disinfection using different plant extracts,” said Nshimyumuremyi

From the laboratory results, they are aware of which kind of plant extract is efficient for the tried parasites.

Mixing products

In the laboratory, he carries out tests by applying medicinal plant extracts to a certain bacteria. Once the bacteria dies or weakens then the extract has passed the test.

Currently, the tested bacteria are fungi streptococcus, staphylococcus, and salmonella, among others.

“The problem I wanted to address was to have modern herbal medicine that Rwandans can use instead of relying on locally prescribed herbs that do not have any prescribed dosage. For us we know how much medicinal plants we should mix with how much imported products,” he said.

“We establish the quantity of grammes to use. I mix six kinds of medicinal plants with the same capacity of bacteria killing. I am planning to have five kinds of petroleum jellies from those 30 plants.”

The teacher-cum ‘doctor’ owns a garden of medicinal plants which he uses in making cosmetic products.


Through his innovative work, he has managed to open stores in three districts.

So far, he has acquired assets worth Rwf35 million.

Nshimyumuremyi says he wishes to own his own laboratory in the future.

“Research is very expensive and energy and time consuming yet it is necessary to sustain production,” he said. “Besides, buying raw materials pushes prices up. Transport also hampers the distribution of the products.”

Teacher creates niche in cosmetic products


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