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My Educational Journey

JC:HEM e-learning Program came to give value to my degree in French which was devalued by political issues in my home country Rwanda.

Photo of Vestine Umubyeyi
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I have always heard people say that education never ends, and I am seeing it happen through my educational journey. My educational journey has started in 1991 when I was six years old whith primary education in my home village in Rwanda. The school was near our house and my parents encouraged us to never miss a class. The harmony has been disturbed by the 1994 genocide which found me in grade four. In 1995 when we returned from exile in Burundi, I restarted grade four and continued up to grade six. Many challenges that come with war consequences such as poverty, lack of family support and security instability have made me double grade six before I get a good grade to move to secondary school.

I started secondary school in 1998 and finished the first cycle of three years with a good grade that promoted me to the next cycle in a different school where I had to choose a field of study to follow. Latin and Modern Languages was my preference for the rest of three years of the secondary. When I entered secondary studies I was already to do even the impossible to have a grade that was to help me acquire a state bursary for university studies. I have got the grade I wanted and I chose to continue with French language and literature as field of study within the National University of Rwanda. When we stepped in the second year, we have been surprised to notice that there were no new admission in our department, which meant that we were the last promotion in the field, we came to understand the reason why only when we reached the last year of our studies when the Rwandan government decided to ban all French usage in schools and all administrative and public offices. This was a great disappointment because this decision meant that our degrees were for no value in the country. I then used my secondary certificate to acquire a job as an English teacher and I used my degree in French to participate in online writing contests as I was devoted to become a writer. Only one year after I got my degree, I have been obliged to flee my country to Kenya.

With a degree in French language and literature, my chances to get a job in a totally Anglophone country were few. I then thought that I could restart high school in a different option but it was very hard to decide. Luckily enough, JC-HEM diploma program presented a chance to me, I applied and I was lucky to be enrolled in Liberal Studies, I am now doing my last course and expect to be graduated in September. There are times when I thought that my education has been a waste of time, especially when my applications for unrelated posts to my degree were rejected. I was not the one who created the French department but then it became my fault to have chosen it. Even though the life in a refugee camp was the last thing that I wished to happen to me, I am grateful to have found JC-HEM opportunity in the camp because the study in Liberal arts have added value to my French degree, now I am starting to hope that even the next level of education is possible for me.

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Photo of robert hakiza

Thanks so much Vestine for sharing this story. Bon courage!

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