Dusingizimana Marie Jeanne lost her parents during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Becoming an orphan at a tender age of seven was seemingly unbearable but being strong was the only choice she was left with.
With support from the Genocide Survivors Assistance Fund, Marie Jeanne focused on her studies despite battling trauma for years. There are times when the emotional onslaught took a toll on her. When that happened, she sought help.
After graduating from High School in 2013, she wasn’t able to go for further studies. Two years later, while facing an uncertain future, a training opportunity knocked on her door. She grabbed it and never looked back. It was a program offered by Women for Women International for the benefit of the underprivileged women in her community.
Since 2016, Marie Jeanne has been working as a barista at Urugo Roadside Cafe, found at the Urugo Women’s Opportunity Center, in her home town of Kayonza. She loves what she does and counts her blessings. "Many businesses are still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic and many more have been forced to lay off some of their employees. I am fortunate to keep my job during these challenging times." She says.
The humble resident of Mukarange Sector, Kayonza District, believes she survived for a reason. As she remembers for the 28th time, her commitment to leading a purpose-driven life is stronger than ever. "The best way to pay tribute to our loved ones is to build the Rwanda they wished they had." She told me.
Growing up as an orphan, in the aftermath of the genocide, wasn’t easy. However, Jeanne is quick to point out that she never faced her challenges alone. She has a bigger family of a unified nation and a broader shoulder to cry on.