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Featured Graduates
Featured Graduates


Featured Graduates

Jeanne Mutoni

Current Residence: Kigali, Rwanda
Home Town: Nyamata, Rwanda

Objective: Attend university and pursue a career in accounting and banking.

Current Status: Graduated with a degree in Accounting in December 2015 and, as of January 2016, has a full-time position as a data manager at the Mareba Health Centre, where she did her internship.

About: Jeanne Mutoni, sister of Strongest Oak Steven Shyaka, is a Rwandan genocide survivor from the village of Nyamata. In April 1994, Jeanne and Steven lost their entire family in the genocide, save for themselves and their grandmother. Jeanne escaped with her grandmother but they were separated from Steven. She presumed he was dead. In 1998, after four years of separation, the Red Cross reunited Jeanne and her grandmother with Steven.

Since the events of the genocide, Jeanne had been severely traumatized and was often hospitalized to deal with emotional challenges. Despite these obstacles, her resilience continues to shine through. Today, her main goal is to complete university and pursue a career in accounting and banking. She is passionate about economics, business and management and her dream is to one day become a bank manager or to launch her own business. A highly spiritual person, Jeanne hopes to someday launch her own charity to assist the many vulnerable children in the Nyamata area who are currently uncared for.

Read about Jeanne's progress:

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Philomene Nyirarukundo

PhilomeneCurrent Residence: Kigali, Rwanda
Home Town: Nyamagabe District, Southern Province, Rwanda

Objective: Secure a job in the Communications field and one day start a Marketing company.

Current Status: Completed a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Journalism and an internship at Rwanda Printing and Publishing. Currently works as a contractor for a company called Laterite Africa, where she collects data, interviews people and conducts research. The mission of Laterite is “to deploy the most innovative research methods to design effective responses to development issues.”

About: Philomene joined the TSO in December 2013. Philomene grew up with five siblings in a very poor family. Fortunately, due to her financial need and high marks, she was selected for a Government bursary that enabled her to complete her high school education. Philomene earned money to buy school materials and clothes by working as a construction laborer, carrying bricks, cement, and other heavy materials.

In spite of working while in school, Philomene was a strong student. She studied hard with the goal of receiving another Government scholarship so that she could attend University. Philomene’s dream was achieved when she was ranked the top of her class in The National Rwanda Examination Results. Her marks earned her a Government scholarship to attend the National University of Rwanda to study Communication and Journalism. The following year, Philomene won another competitive scholarship called Generation Rwanda. This scholarship covered her full University tuition and provided her comprehensive support services including tutoring, mentorship, and career development.

Philomene enjoys volunteering in her community. One organization she volunteers with is Garden for Health, an internationally recognized not-for-profit organization that provides agricultural support and health education to rural communities with high rates of chronic childhood malnutrition.

Philomene is now looking forward to pursuing her career, wishing to work with an NGO or reputable company in Rwanda that can help her learn the skills she needs to be successful in Communications and Marketing. In the future, when Philomene starts her own company, she would like to employ underprivileged youth so that they too have an opportunity to escape poverty.

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Pascal Dusabumuremyi

Pascal cropped

Current Residence: Kigali, Rwanda
Home Town: Nyabihu District, Rwanda

Objective: Secure a job in agribusiness

Current Status: Completed Bachelor's degree in Agriculture and secured a management position with Forestry and Agricultural Investment Management Ltd. in Kigali as Head of Production

About: Pascal is a Rwandan genocide survivor. When we met him, he was a twenty-seven year old university graduate seeking a career in agribusiness.

Pascal has endured the unimaginable loss of his entire immediate family (two brothers, one sister and both parents), as well as many extended family members. His father was killed in 1991 during the unrest of the Tutsis accused of being spies for the Rwanda Patriotic Force (RPF). At the age of six, Pascal left his home to live with his uncle; however, his uncle was killed in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, forcing Pascal to flee to a refugee camp.

After the genocide, the orphaned Pascal continued in primary school thanks to funding by FARG (a government fund that helps vulnerable genocide survivors). Because of his resilience and determination to change the course of his life – as he was the only survivor of his family – he worked hard in high school and received a government scholarship for his university studies.

In 2012, Pascal finished his studies at the National University of Rwanda (NUR) in the Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Agribusiness (AGEC).  Pascal continues to be optimistic about life and is working hard to rebuild his life as a genocide survivor with dignity.

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Joseph Kabarisa

Joseph picture

Current Residence: Kigali, Rwanda
Home Town: Rusizi District, Rwanda

Objective: Secure a job in accounting

Current Status: Completed an internship with Square Entrepreneurship Development Consult LTD in Kigali

About: Joseph’s struggle began early on in the genocide when a group of armed Hutus targeted the tea field in which his father was working. After his father’s death, his mother, brother, and sister fled to the Rwanda jungle where they spent many weeks in hiding. They then moved to the Kamarampaka stadium, a place where many Tutsis people congregated. However, the stadium did not contain any food so his mother and brother left the stadium to find their family food. Joseph believes this was when they were killed by a group of waiting Hutus. Fortunately, shortly after their death, the Red Cross and the French Army came to the stadium to move Joseph and his sister to a refugee camp.

After the genocide, the Joseph and his sister were taken in by a surrogate mother. They continued their studies in school thanks to funding by FARG (a government fund that helps vulnerable genocide survivors). Because of his determination to make his parents proud, he persevered in school and, in 2010, was accepted into the School of Finance and Banking to study accounting.

Although a day does not go by where Joseph does not think about his family, he continues to be hopeful and is working hard to lead a successful life with honesty and integrity. 

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Charles Mugabe

Current Residence: Kampala, Uganda
Home Town: Nyamata, Rwanda

Objective: Complete a Bachelors degree in Social Work and pursue a career in Peace and Conflict Management.

Current Status: Graduated in March 2014 with Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration degree from Kampala University in Uganda. As of January 2017, working on a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Development Kampala University focusing on gender issues and children's rights.

About: Charles is a Rwandan genocide survivor who, at the age of nine, lost his entire family in one of the most tragic events in history: the massacre of hundreds of Tutsis and moderate Hutus at or near the Nyamata Memorial Church. A young boy at the time, Charles made a harrowing escape by hiding among dead bodies in the church to avoid the killers, then escaping to a nearby swamp where he hid, immersed up to his neck in water, for 30 days before finally being rescued by Kagame's RPF forces.

Charles studied Social Work at a Ugandan university, having received a scholarship from an international NGO. Charles represented his country at an international conference on Conflict Resolution in Geneva, Switzerland, in September 2010. Prior to relocating to Uganda, Charles served as a host at the Nyamata Memorial Centre giving tours to visitors. Along with Steven Shyaka, Charles launched Healing Through Arts and Drama (HTAD) in February 2010. His email tag line reads: "I care, and I am looking for people who care."

Read about Charles' progress:

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Steven Shyaka

Current Residence: Kigali, Rwanda
Home Town: Nyamata, Rwanda

Objective: Attend a local university and pursue a career in law.

Current Status: Graduated in December 2014 from Kigali Independent University with a degree in Law. Completed internship with R&R Associates in August of 2014. As of January 2017, working on a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Global Justice at Cardiff University in Wales.

About: Steven is a Rwandan genocide survivor who, at the age of eight, lost his parents, brothers and other family members in April 1994. Steven narrowly escaped death and was taken to a local hospital to recover from severe physical and emotional wounds.  Believing that he was the only surviving member of his family, Steven sought work as a young houseboy, and was eventually adopted by the family who employed him.  In an ironic twist of fate, his adopted mother turned out to be the sister of Steven's parents' killers. Suffering torture and abuse from his adopted mother, Steven eventually left the family and was miraculously connected by international aid workers to his grandmother and sister, whom he had presumed were dead. Steven's grandmother enrolled him in school and he graduated with a high school diploma.

A young leader in his community, Steven has launched Healing Through Arts and Drama, a support group for young Rwandan genocide survivors, their families, and even the criminals themselves, to help heal emotional wounds and regain a new life through dance, music, theatre and poetry.

On a part-time basis, Steven serves as an assistant Oak Leader on behalf of TSO Rwanda.

Read about Steven's progress:

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Success Stories

Many of our Oaks have come a long way since we met them. We would like to celebrate their successes in feature articles. Read about our next featured Oak, Gertrude Nanyonga.

Gertrude at work cropped


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