In April 1994, when Claudette Nshimiyimana and her twin sister were only seven, genocidal violence broke out in Rwanda. After a grenade hit their home, the family scattered. Claudette’s mother was able to gather all her children back together, except one.
Their family of seven started a long and perilous journey to a refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On the journey, Claudette saw how parents fought for their children: “Papers, jewelry, furniture or televisions weren’t important any longer; it was the children and how to keep them safe and secure that was on the forefront of the parents’ minds.”
When they arrived at the camp, the conditions were terrible. “What was most difficult for me at seven years old” Claudette remembers, “was that there was no longer access to an education. I wanted so badly to learn, but it wasn’t possible in the camp.”