” Before I begin, I would like to thank Marie Claudine Mukamabano, for gracing us with such a moving song “ . Said ; UN Secretary – General Ban Ki- moon’s remarks at fifteenth commemoration of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda in New York, 7 April 2009
Marie Claudine Mukamabano,is an orphan-survivor of Rwandan genocide, who has received recognition from The Assembly of State of New York on May 2011 on the occasion of the Africa Day Celebration for turning a life of hardship into one of leadership and advocacy. She is the Founder and CEO of Kuki Ndiho Rwanda Orphans Supporter Project, a Humanitarian efforts & Charitible organization that she established in 2005 to raise awareness on the genocide in Rwanda, help survivors, and aid orphans of HIV. In a personal capacity, she also serves as a mentor to many of the children, helping to build their confidence and give them inspiration.
After losing her parents, sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, loved ones, friends, classmates, and fellow countrymen during the Rwandan Genocide, her Catholic faith inspired her to seek the answer to the question of KUKI NDIHO? (Why do I exist?-Pourquoi J’existe?). This question now serves as the name of her organization, which has an extensive fundraising program in New York, as well as a presence in European Union Countries , Japan and South Africa. The thousands of dollars raised thus far continue to support hundreds of orphans in Rwanda She gave a speech on March 2011 at the African Union’s conference on behalf of Rwanda & African women author on the theme: “A Tribute to Flora Nwapa: Gender Equality and The Empowerment of Women”.
On the occasion of the 55th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations on February 2011, Marie Claudine was selected as the only representative of Africa women to speak on the panel “Sharing Knowledge – Joining Forces – Gaining Power: Mentoring as a Tool to Empower NGO Women”. She won an Ambassador for Peace Award on May 2010.
In 2007, as a Professional Mistress of Ceremonial and Special Event Organizer, she helped to establish “African Day Parade” and volunteered as Committee Member of the mission to promote a positive image and culture of Africa in The United States and others westerns countries.
Marie Claudine is also an influential speaker, actress, artist, and model. As artist, she dances at universities, churches and community groups as part of the Rwanda Dance Theater Company. As singer, she performs at the International Commemoration Day to mark the 15th Anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide at the United Nations attended by the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.
She was awarded a Marathon Peace Medal from the International Women for Peace in Kigali Rwanda and honored for being the first artist from Rwanda selected among 600 applicants worldwide to participate in the Robert Wilson’s International Theater Projects in New York City on May 2005.
She speaks English, French, Swahili and her language Kinyarwanda. She graduated with a distinction in School of Business Studies in Rwanda 2000, and has recently completed courses in nonprofit management at Baruch College and The Foundation Center. She graduated recently from the International Trauma Studies, a program directed by Dr. Jack Saul, Professor at Columbia University.
Living and working in New York, Aaron helps facilitate Kuki Ndiho’s New York operations while working closely with its Founder and Director Marie Claudine Mukamabano. Aaron’s first involvement with Kuki Ndiho was in 2008, coordinating a sneaker drive in partnership with St. Vincent Martyr Catholic Church of Madison, New Jersey which collected over 1,200 pairs of sneakers for Orphans in Rwanda. Since he has assisted Kuki Ndiho make presentations to Universities, schools and other local organizations to help promote awareness of Kuki Ndiho’s ongoing work and mission as well as speaking engagements.
Carolyn grew up in northern New Jersey, where she currently resides, however she works on film projects based in New York City.
She graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts with a BA in photography/video and cultural anthropology with a focus on immigration, violence, and social and economic inequalities.
She enjoys riding horses and listening to jazz. Carolyn met Claudine during the summer of 2009 while working on a documentary about a family being reunited after surviving the genocide in Congo.
Since they’ve met, Carolyn has been working with Claudine on her video projects that will raise awareness about finding and negotiating peace, the issues of genocide, and orphans in Rwanda.
Chris Ramos is a Master of Public Administration (MPA) candidate at Pace University, White Plains, New York, and is the President and Founder of the MPA Student Association. He is set to graduate in spring 2012.
Chris is a former finance manager, and has worked across an array of organisations including the Federal Eastern Corporation, Lien Tung Limited, Inc. and Soroptimist International. He has interned and volunteered in a variety of roles at organisations, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, National Federation of Nonprofits & Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Council and Action without Borders.
Chris also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Hawaii-Manoa and an Associate Science Degree in Accounting from the Kapiolani Community College. He has a background in professional dance.
My name is Abidé Legzim. I am Togolese, first in a family of nine. I have lived in New York for the past 12 years. I am proud to have now become a citizen of these United States that I have become my home. I finished two years of High School when I came to New York in 1999 at the Martin Luther King Jr. High School. I first went to the Borough of Manhattan Community College where I majored in Office Administration and graduated in December 2003. I then transferred to Hunter College where I started in January 2003 and double majored in Political Science and French. I graduated in June 2007 with a GPA of 3.6. I started New York University’s Master’s Program at the Graduate School of Arts and Science in Politics in August of 2007. I graduated from the two-year program in only one year with a 3.5 GPA. Throughout my Hunter and NYU research studies I specialized in Sub-Saharan Africa’s Politics. I became an expert in Africa’s Great Lakes region and wrote numerous research papers on conflict in the area and the Rwandan (Tutsi) genocide. The topic of my Master’s Thesis was an analysis of the foreign interventions in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s conflict from 1994 to 1996. I was particularly influenced in my studies by the Rwandan genocide and try to learn as much as I can about the Great Lakes Region of Africa’s present conflict that has been a direct result of the Rwandan Genocide. As they say, the only way to change a situation is to learn as much as you can and do something about it. My life philosophy is “don’t wait for life to happen to you, MAKE IT HAPPEN’.
I am currently working as a Public Relations Assistant Volunteer at the KUKI NDIHO Foundation. The position allows me to apply my knowledge of Africa’s Great Lakes Region and Rwanda in particular to help the country’s orphans. I work closely with the Genocide Survivor, CEO, and President Ms. Marie Claudine Mukamabano with all aspects of the foundation from fundraising to performances. I have also held several administrative positions while going to school. Although they have allowed me to obtain substantial administrative experience, I am currently searching for a position that will allow me to apply my knowledge of Africa to change the life of Africans and help our continent have a better and brighter future.
”I thank the Kuki Ndiho Foundation for being proactive in bringing people’s attention to the needs of children in Rwanda. Our help is vital to providing them with the tools they need to succeed in the future“ Jennifer
This summer, I went to Kigali, Rwanda as an intern with the Kuki Ndiho Foundation. As a student at City College, I found out about the opportunity through the International Studies department there.
The Kuki Ndiho Foundation, founded by Marie Claudine Mukamabano, is a non-profit organization that works to improve the lives of underprivileged and orphaned children in Rwanda. During my stay in Rwanda, I worked closely with Kuki Ndiho’s coordinator in Kigali, Pacifique Gashirabake, who helped me plan my schedule, meet with people who would help me in my work, and of course carry out the work.
One of the three main locations I worked at while I was in Kigali is the Gisimba Memorial Center, which is an orphanage housing more than 150 children. At the Gisimba Center, the other Kuki Ndiho volunteers and I had the privilege of being able to distribute the sneakers that had been sent to Rwanda only weeks earlier as a result of the shoe drive that Marie Claudine held in New Jersey.
The children were ecstatic to receive those gifts! Not only did these sneakers provide them with a nice new pair of shoes,but it also gave them the idea that there are people who care about their well-being and happiness as far away as in the US.
I also had the pleasure of working with the students at Muhima Primary School who are sponsored by the Kuki Ndiho Foundation
I also rehearsed with the music group at the Sainte-Famille Church in the center of Kigali.I was very happy that I had the opportunity to perform with them and with the church choir for a ceremony to ordinate new priests. The exchange of musical ideas that I shared with the group was a special part of my experience in Rwanda.
” The time that I spent in Rwanda working for the Kuki Ndiho Foundation made me truly appreciate Rwandan culture and the country’s people, who have shown such resilience in the face of the hardships resulting from the genocide of 1994. Rwanda’s people continue to build strength in Rwandan identity, shedding divisions over ethnic tensions .”Jennifer BELLISARIO
COURTNEY has her B.S. in International Trade & Marketing with a minor in Asian Studies from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
Realizing the potential for the fashion industry to change the world,
Courtney has spent a majority of her professional and educational career helping to mobilize the fashion community to consider sustainable and fair-trade alternativeswhile raising awareness in the classrooms and on the streets of New York City.
While volunteering for various human rights organizations such as Bread for the World and Stop Child Trafficking Now,
Courtney felt a calling to be with the suffering.
She answered that calling by taking part in an internship in May of 2009 at a rehabilitation center for former child soldiers in Northern Uganda.
Returning to the U.S. three months later, Courtney was overwhelmed by the poverty she witnessed. Feeling compelled to help the people of Africa.
She is now working with KUKI NDIHO RWANDA ORPHANS SUPPORT PROJECT
Mike Smith RIVERA (Our Supporter & Videos editor)
Graduate of the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, the Institute of Canadian Clowning, Syracuse University, and retired professor of Mask and Gesture at the Strasberg Institute.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, he has acted, performed, and directed all over NYC, in Ea…stern Europe, and on every single train line end to end since 1997. Between acting, Between acting, voice-overs, improv, and music, he runs a production company with Missus Clown that specializes in all aspects of film and theater production. In addition to fulfilling his responsibilities as a performer, he teaches group and private classes in clown and physical theatre, and has been consulting internationally since 2002.
David (Marie Claudine’s Editor & Supporter)
Director of Survivors Fund (SURF), a UK-based international organisation which represents and supports survivors of the Rwandan genocide to rebuild their lives in Rwanda and the UK. SURF is guided by a bottom-up approach to support the needs of survivors, as determined by survivors themselves. Programmes are delivered by local survivors’ organisations, ranging from healthcare to the Genocide Survivor ,Programmes are delivered by local survivors’ organisations, ranging from healthcare to house-building, education to entrepreneurship.
David is an NYU Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, receiving an MPA from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, New York University and an MA from Christ’s College, Cambridge
Our Consultant Fred NZASABIMANA
Rwandan origin now living in Durban, South Africa. He is a graduate of the Kigali Institute of Education, where he read Sciences with Education.
In 2008, he matriculated at the University of KwaZulu Natal and secured a Masters Degree in Gender and Development the following year. He has remained at the University, and this year commenced doctoral studies in Community Devellopment Fred has undertaken research into the role of women entrepreneurship and poverty reduction in post-genocide Rwanda.
Fred speaks English, French and Kinyarwanda. He enjoys reading, music, movies and sport.
Professor Kisty DIXON, Health Advocate for The Children of Rwanda
Claudine MUNYAKAZI, Coordinator of Education and Social Services
Claudine MUGUNGA, Entrepreneurial Coordinator
Bertrad NIWEJAMBO, Media coordinator / Relationship
Theophile “Jimmy” Mapango (European Representative)
Musician, writer, actor, activist and lecturer from Gabon.Since 2009 he has served as the President and Director General of Transit SM Gabon, and previously served as the President of ONG Modoi, a development organisation based in the northeastern province of Ogooué-Ivindo in Gabon. Jimmy’s most recent publication is Gabon decrepitude: je rêve pour mon Afrique (The Decay of Gabo: I dream for my Africa), a series of essays on the history and future of Gabon. He is currently working on a new book, due out in January 2011…, titled Le Monde a Change (The World has Changed).Jimmy has a Diploma from the University of Omar Bongo Libreville. He is a fluent French speaker, and a motivated team player. His hobbies include music, writing and astronomy.
Spent a great deal of her childhood making up stories inside her head. Even when she couldn’t read or write as a young child the stories were doodled. As an adult, she writes her stories and poems down on paper. She was twice published for poetry by the National Book Foundation and St. Mary’s Press. Currently, she is working on a picture book series addressing common challenges Also, she is pursuing a career in Children’s Entertainment Media, which is promising several new opportunities.
Always passionate about children and women she aligned herself with KUKI NDIHO Foundation: Helping Rwandans orphans Heal and Mothers to Mothers.
los, Creative Director, Film, Graphics, Web
(NY, PARIS, ARGENTINA)
Born in Buenos Aires and transplanted early to New York, los currently is working and studying art, cinema and architecture in Paris, France. Part visual artist, part musician, part filmmaker and all activist, los’ work brings together his loves of art and communication, graphic design, photography, videography, and music as well as web developing and information and communication technology. los also collaborates with many not-for-profit organizations around the world including educational, community-based, youth development, artistic and cultural as well as healthcare advocacy causes. He is currently directing two documentary films, one on rebuilding hurricane-ravaged communities in Jamaica and the other teaching young people about genocides and other
Words of Bonds Film
Reach Out Jamaica
Fulton Art Fair
Alain MUHOZA, African Representative (RWANDA)
Christian Munyarigoga, European Representative (BELGIUM)
Michelle Joseph, Representative (USA)
Peter Nyabyenda, Representative (CANADA)
Bernard Mushi, International Representative (COLORADO)
L.D., Artist, Singer, Speaker (SENEGAL)Dominique, Dancer, Singer, Speaker (MAURITANIA)
TOMOKO , Singer from Japan & Advocate for Rwandan OrphansIf you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!