Tag: Rwanda

State: Texas

City of Residence: Denton, Texas

Country of origin: Rwanda

Arrival in the U.S.: 2000

Ms. Hadidja Nyiransekuye is a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide. She was sponsored to come to the United States in 1998 based on her teaching experience and education background, as well as her extensive language skills, which include English, French, Swahili and Kinyarwanda. She and her four children were granted asylum in 2000. Ms. Nyiransekuye obtained her M.S.W. and her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Denver. She currently lives in Denton, Texas where she teaches Social Work at the University of North Texas. She is dedicated to speaking out and educating people about Rwanda, and her speaking engagements have led her to work with the Metropolitan State University of Denver where she taught African and African American studies. She also serves as a member of the Council on Social Work Education and the National Association of Social Workers.

Ms. Nyiransekuye published a memoir in 2011, entitled, The Lances were Looking Down: One Woman’s Path Through the Rwandan Genocide to Life in the States, and has written another book entitled, At the Receiving End: A Phenomenological Study of African Women Recipients of Refugee Services in the States. In addition to publishing this study on refugee women’s experiences of resettlement services, she is very proud of being a resource, or “go-to person”, for addressing refugee concerns about children’s schooling and family counseling.

Word for U.S.: Opportunity

State: Maryland

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

State: Ohio

City of Residence: Columbus, Ohio

Country of origin: Rwanda

Arrival in the U.S.: 2005

Ms. Norah Bagirinka is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and was resettled to the United States in 2005. In Rwanda she directed a program with the International Rescue Committee that aided female victims of violence. Now in the United States, Ms. Bagirinka has continued her humanitarian work by advocating for refugees and immigrants in Ohio, collaborating with organizations such as CRIS Ohio, US Together, World Relief, and the Women’s Federation for World Peace Ohio Women’s Fund. In 2007 she founded Refugee Women In Action, a nonprofit organization based in Columbus, Ohio, that assists refugee women and their families to establish social and economic independence. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Care Management from Ohio Christina University and currently works as the Community Outreach Specialist and Program Director for Refugee Women In Action. Ms. Bagirinka is most proud of contributing to her community through advocacy, connecting with refugee women and their families.

Word for U.S.: Safety