One Teen’s Incredible Journey

Navigating high school and making it all the way to graduation is a hard enough task even in the best of circumstances. That’s why I found the story of Candide Uwizeyimana so incredible and inspiring.

When Candide arrived in the U.S. from Africa as a refugee two years ago, she didn’t speak a word of English. And that wasn’t the only hurdle she had to overcome. Candide was a survivor of one of worst genocides in recent history, the mid-1990s genocide in the central African country of Rwanda. She was only five when she and her family fled the violence on foot in 1993, eventually being permanently separated from her parents and siblings. At times along her journey, she hoped for death (and came close to it more than once), thinking it must be better than the reality she was living.

She eventually ended up in a refugee camp in south Congo where she was moved into a camp orphanage. From there, she was fortunate enough to meet a family who took her in as one of their own and sent her to school. She was only nine years old. By the time she was in high school, her adopted family, trying to give her the best future they could, encouraged her to apply for refugee status with the United Nations so she could go to a developed country like the U.S. or Canada and be resettled.

And that’s how she ended up in Seattle shortly thereafter. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Congratulations to Candide on this incredible accomplishment. You are an inspiration to us all!

To read more about Candide’s amazing story, click here. To learn more about the Rwandan genocide, check out the movie , or read the powerful book by Philip Gourevitch.

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