WCW Rukshana Triem

Amy Phillips

This week’s #WomanCrushWednesday goes out to Rukshana Triem, a former refugee and immigrant from Mozambique who is now a business owner and a nonprofit founder. 

Rukshana is the oldest of five children. As she was growing up, she not only took care of her own family, she served her village and her elders. By serve, we mean she’d stand in line for food for up to five hours, then return to her village to cook. She was only ten years old and her childhood was filled with poverty and trauma. But Rukshana has true grit, so those experiences shaped her work ethic and strengthened her determination to give back.

She came to the United States in the 1990s, from Zambia. She got married and realized she had a lot of trauma to work through. Her husband – now ex – was a great teacher in that regard, showing her the person she could become. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Human Development and worked as an early childhood teacher, trainer and mentor. Coming from a third-world country, she now invests in third-world countries, through education. Rukshana remembers doing schoolwork under a mango tree, practicing writing in the dirt. In 2018, she started the Firmina foundation to honor her grandmother – during a visit back, when Rukshana noticed kids practicing writing under a mango tree the way she used to do, Grandma encouraged her to start a school: “If not you, then who?” The foundation helps build schools in Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia. They finished their first school earlier this year! It’s a three-classroom building, serving 26 villages, 300 students – some who walk ten miles to go to school. Next goal is building desks, using a trade school. So students are learning a trade while making something valuable for their schools! For Rukshana, it’s all about the power of collaboration. Next up – plans for a school serving kids with disabilities. 


Rukshana is dedicated to creating opportunities for women, as well. She created her own business, Women’s Lifestyle Coaching, where she helps women overcome past struggles and create their own beautiful lives. It all started with parenting workshops. Now, six years later, Rukshana is busier than ever, planning twice-yearly retreats, outdoor adventures, and other big-time projects, like the International Women’s Lifestyle Conference and African fashion show planned for October 24th. Learn more about it here: https://www.womenslifestylecoaching.com/program

Rukshana avoids ego and pride, believing they’ll limit her leadership AND learning. Her model in life and leadership is simple yet profound: Show up, do the work, have an open mind and never be afraid to ask questions. After all, there’s no such thing as a dumb question! 

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