Beyond the Tears: a Rwandan Refugee’s intention to help heal the vulnerable during unrest.

Clene Nyiramahoro, PhD Candidate University: Africa International University (AIU) Program: PhD in Intercultural Studies

Having lived outside my home for almost 16 years, I was able to objectively think about some of the cultural values that are strongly held and which I believe have been contributing to the many conflicts that Rwanda has been subjected to for centuries. I felt the need to do a proper research in that particular area so that I can bring to the surface some of those beliefs that are so detrimental to the lasting peace of the Rwandan people. I realized that the only way to produce a credible work is to have it done under a recognized academic institution, such as AIU.

My vision after my studiesTo equip Africans women, especially refugees, by giving them an opportunity to heal from their wounds, training them and helping them to engage in self-sustaining activities so that they can make a meaningful contribution to the wellness of their families and nation.

Why Refugees?
They are the victims of conflicts. Their needs are very unique. They have lost people, property, identity and dignity, and have not been given an opportunity to express their feelings. They live in self-pity. They feel unworthy and their self-esteem is terribly affected. They need to build their confidence and be taught to explore new opportunities.

How do I intend to execute my vision?

Create forums where women would come together, listen to one another, share their sorrows and joy.
Women in Africa learn well as a group. So bringing together women who share the same challenges is a powerful way of helping them to improve their lives. As they come together, I will also get the opportunity to have them discuss the issues of conflicts, diseases like HIV and AIDS, talk about parenting our children especially girls in the midst of challenges, etc. Helping women write their stories to edify other women, organizing trauma healing and reconciliation workshops will be some of my strategies.

 Establish a foundation to help young women access both formal and informal education
Educating girls was never a priority in Africa. As a result, so many refugee women found themselves in a situation where they have to provide for their families with very limited knowledge or skills. These women not only are poor but also live with frustrated men, who feel they are worthless which make many of them give in to violence and alcoholism. Some women have given in to prostitution or encourage their daughters to subject themselves to the abuse of merciless men to earn a living. This can only stop if the girls get a good education and engage in self-sustaining activities.

 Give opportunity to young men and women to think and learn together
Empowering women especially young girls cannot bear fruits in my view unless we help them work hand in hand with the boys for whatever affects girls outside their country equally affects boys. They share most of the challenges. For a better future both boys and girls need to be informed on the issues that affect them. This will also help in mitigating the effects on conflict and violence in the families, communities and the nation. They need to become better citizen, agents of peace in Africa and beyond and refusing to be misused by selfish politicians.

To hear Clene’ story you can buy her book at Amazon: Beyond Tears, A story of Gods Faithfulness