Finding Hope Amid Great Loss
by Alphonsine Imaniraguha · Network Consulting Engineer · U.S.
I was born and raised in Rwanda with a large family of five siblings. However, during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, I lost my parents and two of my siblings. At the age of 13, I had no choice but to become a parent to my three surviving siblings who were all under 10-years-old.
Despite these hurdles and amidst great loss, I won a full scholarship to Kigali Institute of Science & Technology in Rwanda where I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Electronics Engineering. Hope was returning and I could see a future ahead. After graduating I then won a full scholarship to Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, where after adjusting to a new country and learning English, I earned a master's degree in Telecom Engineering.
Throughout my education, I managed to financially support and raise my siblings who I proudly refer to as my children; they have all since graduated from college, which were the proudest moments of my life.
My parents were amazing, when I was a little girl I was my Dad's princess. I was encouraged to dream. My parents believed that I could be anything I wanted to. After the Genocide, however, not only did I find that no one cared about my well being, but I no longer had anyone to be proud of me. Nevertheless, I became determined to make my perished loved ones proud. I knew I had to work hard.
Due to the loss of my parents, I never had a role model while I was growing up—even though I had my younger siblings who looked up to me. I never had the chance to be young, my childhood was rushed and I was forced to grow up in a hurry. Always on my own through ups and downs, somehow by the grace of God I prevailed, and today I don't really get discouraged easily.
It doesn't matter what challenge I encounter in life, I always know that I will have the courage to overcome it. I went through so much to become who I am today, and that gives me the strength to keep going forward.
My story has a happy ending; I have ended up with my dream job. I work for a company that allows me to innovate, and who treats everyone equally while encouraging me to care for others.
I started Rising Above the Storms, a non-profit organization that promotes education and a deep love for orphans in underdeveloped areas of the world. We encourage and inspire with a message of hope to help rebuild a brighter and more positive future.
I may not be able to change the world alone, but I know that there are many people out there who might be struggling in their personal lives. I want to bring them hope. With perseverance and determination, it is possible to rise above life's challenges. Join me to change lives, one at time.
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