City of Residence: Baltimore, Maryland
Country of origin: Rwanda
Arrival in the U.S.: 2001
Ms. Eugenie Mukeshimana is a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide. After struggling with this traumatic experience for nearly eight years, she and her daughter finally left in 2001 for the United States and were granted asylum. She currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland and has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. In 2010, Ms. Mukeshimana founded Genocide Survivors Support Network (GSSN), a New Jersey-based charitable organization that helps genocide survivors rebuild their lives. Since founding GSSN, Ms. Mukeshimana has enabled survivors to share their stories with thousands of students throughout the country, and she continues to advocate on behalf of survivors by helping them access critical services such as immigration assistance, mental health treatment, language and cultural orientation, career development, and college enrollment. Ms. Mukeshimana frequently lectures on genocide and other human rights violation topics in conferences, schools, and other community groups.
In 2012, in recognition of her work, Ms. Mukeshimana received a fellowship at Columbia University’s Human Rights Advocates Program. Ms. Mukeshimana says her experiences with violence and subsequent work with other refugees and asylum seekers have inspired her to become an active human rights activist who never takes for granted such things as education, democracy, or the ability to wake up in the morning free of fear that something horrible might happen. She is most proud of her work to chang the perceptions of immigrants.
Word for U.S.: Peace