………..can either make us cry, confused, vent in anger, want to lose hope and give up on life
it can make us see things differently, show some compassion and love unconditionally.
Stephanie Nyombayire has done something amazing with her pain. Instead of venting in anger, she chose to engineer change, reaching out to save the smitten and suffering in the war torn areas of the world.
Stephanie lost dozens of her family members in 1994, during the Rwandan genocide, although she was out of the country at the time.
Having experienced the helplessness and sorrow that comes with losing several loved ones, the Rwandan change agent embarked on a mission to save lives and reunite families.
In 2004, during her freshman year at Swarthmore College, she partnered with Mark Hanis and Andrew Sniderman to form the Genocide Intervention Network to advocate for intervention in the Darfur conflict in Sudan.
Driven by passion, she traveled to over one hundred colleges and high schools to speak against the Darfur crises and offer solution and counsel to the citizens of the country.
The Genocide Intervention Fund (GIF) is also working in collaboration with the American Action Progress Fund, on the Be A Witness campaign, which urges major news channel to increase their coverage of the Darfur Genocide so that citizens of the country will be more encouraged to take action.
Anyone would have understood her plight if she had decided to sit in sack clothes, dust and ashes bemoaning her fate. Instead, she rose above her pain and sorrows to be a solution to other people’s problems.
The leading lady has been named one of Glamour magazine’s Top Ten College Women for her work in Darfur. She is also a recipient of the Imbuto Foundation’s Young Rwandan Woman Achievers award; an award presented to her in 2007 by the First Lady of Rwanda, Jeannette Kagame for her role in founding the Genocide Intervention Network.
In 2005, Stephanie was given the honour to introduce President Bill Clinton at the 2005 Campus Progress National Student Conference on behalf of GI-Net. She Highlighted President Clinton’s apology for the world’s inaction during the Rwandan genocide and also encouraged the audience to always follow their words with action.
Also in the same year, Stephanie traveled to Darfurian refugee camps in Chad after she was denied entry to Sudan. Her trip, along with fellow students from Georgetown and Boston University, was documented in the film “Translating Genocide,” which premiered on MTV on March 12, 2006.
In 2008, Stephanie returned to Rwanda and worked as the Career Development Director for Orphans of Rwanda, Inc. – an organization committed to helping orphans and socially vulnerable young people in Rwanda pursue higher education and leadership roles.
In March of 2009, she embarked on a two-month journey throughout Europe as part of a documentary that reveals the heroic actions of diplomats who went the extra mile, defying their government’s policies to save the lives of persecuted Jews. She went round eight European countries, Israel and Rwanda interviewing survivors and their rescuers.
Stephanie Nyombayire graduated from Kent School in Kent, Connecticut in 2004 and Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania in June 2008 and currently attends the NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service where she is pursuing a graduate degree in International Non Profit Management and Public Policy.
Like Stephanie, we can let go of our past and do the amazing with our pains.
Remember, you can never reach what’s in front of you, until you let go of what’s behind you.
© 2014 – 2017, Lovelyn Okafor. All rights reserved.