Grace Nshimiyumukiza, who grew up in a refugee camp with 150,000 inhabitants in Kakuma Kenya, could have lived her life in self-pity bemoaning her fate, but she chose not to do so. Instead, she rose above her so-called misfortune and helped others like her cope with their situation and become productive, earning member of society.
Living in the camp since the last 17 years, 23-year-old Grace sees the camp as a place of massive opportunities for everyone. She has always wanted to give back to the refugee camp as it gave her new possibilities for the future.
Finally, in 2019, Grace got the opportunity while struggling to learn computer skills on her own. As she was completing online courses up to masters in social work, representatives of Microsoft’s digital literacy program offered to train her as a computer teacher. This was like a dream come true for her as it would then give her the knowledge to train other people, which she has always wanted to do. The Program aims at teaching 25,000 students, half of them girls and women as these are the most marginalised sections in the refugee camps.
Grace wants to help others develop necessary life skills like Computer skills, online business skills and other learnings that will make the refugee girls and boys independent in the future, and not dependent on the refugee camp to take care of their needs for the rest of their lives.
An enterprising and creative girl, Grace credits teaching to making her much more confident. In her words, “teaching has trained me and moulded me to be bold. My goal for my students is to see them explore and grow into leaders who will stand without fear to fight for peace and development of not just our countries of origin but also the whole of Africa.”
Microsoft’s Tech For Social Impact charitable campaign will help Grace get modern software technology and other technical skills taught to refugee camps and underprivileged adults, teenagers and children.
In her first week of teaching after she was trained, Grace taught over 75 girls the skills right from the basics — how to turn on a computer, how to use a mouse, how to use Word, PowerPoint and Excel and even data security. They all cleared their tests after the course, which convinced Grace that these girls now have the potential to go outside and earn their own money as well as teach others.
With Grace’s example, we can learn that one can always create a positive impact wherever one is and whatever one’s situation in life is. With genuine optimism, hope, a desire to continue learning and to help others, one’s ambition to create positive changes and empower others can be achieved.