The Academy welcomed Marie-Christine Nibagwire, Founder of the charity Saferefugerwanda. A genocide survivor, Marie-Christine Nibagwire arrived in the United Kingdom in 1998 after unsuccessfully seeking asylum in three other countries. She enrolled in an intensive three-month business course and found a job as a Procurement Administrator at Eurostar. Free travel on the rail company’s lines allowed her to visit other refugees around Europe. In 2001, she quit her job and founded Safrefugerwanda; a charity that helps refugees and survivors of the Rwandan genocide to rebuild their lives and integrate into Western society. Marie-Christine joined Executive Partner James Libson, to discuss her experience of forced migration, the resilience of refugees and her work with survivors of the Rwandan genocide. She reflected on the number of refugee is surging worldwide, and the plight of those displaced from their homelands in recent years.
Mishcon Talks: In Conversation with Marie-Christine Nibagwire
My name is Marie-Christine Nibagwire. I am a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and I have been living in the UK for twenty years. I run an organisation called Saferefugerwanda which helps mentoring and counselling refugees but also help to stop forced migration. By helping refugees who are in Africa, we have generating income projects, we also, we teach ways to prevent wars and genocides in the future, we teach children from, people from a very early age, especially schools, the values of love, equality, tolerance, respect for one another. Because I lost my family, lost my loved ones, not only family, colleague, neighbours and families, of course, and then I ended up becoming a refugee crossing the countries and becoming destitute. I came here, come here, I went through all the refugee’s process, then I became a citizen. Now, I feel like I have to give back.
Sharing the story, it’s like sharing experience, sharing a knowledge, it helps others too, it helps other…I didn’t, I don’t want to keep it to myself and it took me long years to overcome trauma. It’s also to learn ways to overcome that so, sharing an experience and knowledge always beneficial to people who are sharing it.
Resilience is something everyone who do needs resilience and healing of trauma, everyone will face trauma in lifetime one way or the other, or danger and how to overcome that and move forward. That’s a lesson I learnt.