Ellen DeGeneres Campus’ construction starts in Rwanda’s Kinigi, Likely to take 2 years
A large number of conservationists from various parts of the planet, including the government officials as well as Musanze District residents, turned up on February 12 to witness the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of Ellen DeGeneres Campus.
Located in a rural area of Kampanga Cell in Kinigi Sector, the Ellen DeGeneres Campus is expected to boost mountain gorilla conservation efforts and promoting Rwanda's tourism among other benefits, according to officials. Construction of the campus was spearheaded by Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in partnership with the Ellen Fund and will cost an estimated USD 10 million.
Governor Gatabazi chats with the US ambassador to Rwanda, Peter Vrooman during the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Ellen DeGeneres Campus in Musanze Explaining the campus genesis, Ellen Fund's Director, who is also the partner of Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, revealed that it all begun while Ellen, a globally renowned television personality, was celebrating her 60th birthday whereby she gifted her with the campus.
"This whole thing came about because I thought what on earth do you give the woman who has everything? So I thought the best gift that I could give her was a way to connect her past to her future; I wanted her to look forward to doing something after her talk show was over," said Portia de Rossi.
"I remember the story she told me many years ago, she told me that as a little girl growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana, she came across the National Geographic with Dian Fossey on the cover, you are seeing that brave American women, a scientist who left a comfortable life to set up a tent in the Rwandan forest to save a species on extinction – was transformative for real, it made her see the world differently," she added.
The construction of the campus is expected to take two years and will create an estimated 1,500 jobs and $2million will be spent on local labour, according to officials. In addition, an estimated $2.5m will be spent on locally sourced materials.
The campus will be a permanent home to the Dian Fossey Fund which has been operating in Rwanda for more than 50 years through its Karisoke Centre which has premises in Musanze City Centre.