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I thought for a while, then I remembered a Rwandan refugee woman I had met  the previous year in Kasiki, Lubero, North-Kivu.

In July 2008, during my trip to Kasiki,  I had met the woman among Rwandan refugees. She appeared then to be in her mid 40s. She is the type of leaders you rarely find anywhere else. 

Despite the appaling conditions Rwandan refugees had been living in for the last 14 years (as of 2008), she  had managed to make sure some kids born in the Congolese jungles had rudimentary schooling. She is realy a remarkable and examplary woman. 

I enquired about her background and she told me that, before 1994, she was a high-school teacher in Rwanda. I then asked her why she was staying in Kivu, while most of the people with a background  similar to hers had already moved to other countries, including to Europe. She looked at me and said: “yes, some of my former  Rwandan teachers and civil servants are in Europe, Southern Africa, East Africa, you name it. I chose to stay here. Do you know why?”  With tears in her eyes, she told me the following:

“In 1996, the Rwandan Patriotic Army attacked our camp and massacred almost everybody. We fled to the jungles, but were overtaken. The RPF soldiers killed my children and severely injured my husband. We tried to push deeper into the jungles but  at some point my husband could not move forward. As my husband lay down dying, I begged him to not die and leave me. I told him: “please do not die. I love you. There is no one else I have.  All our children are dead. How can I live without you”. He told me: “I know you love me. And because you love me, please do not feel alone. Spread the love you have for me among all the people you will meet and who need  love and care.” That is why I have stayed here in these jungles and remain engaged. I am spreading the love  and care I had for my children and my husband to these children and other women in these jungles.

The answer of the woman perhaps epitomizes the answer from all who remain engaged in the cause the National Democratic Congress is supporting.

The children she was taking care of are part of the generation before the kids in the picture shown here. This picture, taken this October 2014,  shows some of the Rwanda kids refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), under the protection of RUD-Urunana  and RPR-Inkeragutabara. Other women and men, with similar drive and dedication,  are making sure these children receive the most rudimentary schooling.

How about you? What is driving you?

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Felicien Kanyamibwa, PhD

President, National Democratic Congress