I was born in 1994 in the east African country of Rwanda, just after the 100-day genocide that killed over half of our population. Unfortunately my father did not survive. Though I never knew him, my mother told me he was a prayerful, generous and kind man.
The only thing my mother wanted her kids to have was the one thing she never had—an education. So I studied hard, in three different countries with three different cultures: Rwanda, Uganda and the United States.
At school in Uganda, because I couldn’t speak the language, for almost two years I couldn’t talk to friends or write down notes as required. We awoke every day at 3 a.m., and everyday I was beaten with a cane. But despite the hardships, I grew spiritually more than ever, and I saw God working in my life like never before.
One day my mother came to visit me at school. It was a special, funny and unforgettable day. We laughed, we ate, and she told me wise sayings just the way she always did. Three weeks later she was dead of cancer.
I never knew she was even sick.
I was left in the house with my stepfather and two stepbrothers. My stepfather treated me harshly and unfairly, and eventually told me to pack up my things and leave the house. I felt so hopeless and helpless. With no money for school, it seemed I had no future.
But four days later a miracle happened.
Other family members stepped in, paid for me to finish my schooling
in Uganda, and prepared the way for me to come to the United States, to the small town of Grundy—to my new home, Mountain Mission School.
I grew up in a country where children are abused, both physically and mentally. They are repeatedly told they are stupid, useless and unable to make it in life. They are beaten, caned and harassed. Many become orphans. Some run away. Too many become street children and prostitutes.
I got the chance to escape this end. And I want to leave a legacy that will never be forgotten. “Help the hopeless kids around the world”— that’s my vision. That’s my future.
I hope to create a brighter future for these kids by sending a crystal-clear message to all people with ability and resources: Stop for a minute and look at what’s going on around the world and do something. Together we can change the world. My greatest wish is not just to change this generation, but the next generation, as well: to give children a reason to live, a reason to go to school, and the strength and courage to face life.
That’s my plan after college, may God help me. My mother taught me to “love your neighbor as yourself”— and that with a little help here and a little push there, you can change people’s lives.
All it takes is a little push.