Overcoming Adversity: A Refugee Couple's Inspiring Journey at Kepler Kiziba

Toyota Nyirakamana and Karangwa Ndayambaje who have been married for 10 years are also currently enrolled as students at Kepler in Kiziba refugee camp, Western Rwanda. The young couple graciously shares their journey of joining Kepler, along with the challenges they encountered during their academic pursuit. Their story is a testament to the transformative power of education and serves as an inspiration for others who may be facing similar obstacles.

“The decision to enroll in Kepler was an unexpected turn of events for us. At the time, we were working odd jobs to provide for our family, when my brother, Ndayisenga Rukundo who is a Kepler graduate, encouraged us to apply to the university program, recounts Karangwa. 

My wife, Toyota Nyirakamana, initially hesitated about joining, as she was uncertain about balancing household duties and academic pursuits. With her demonstrated academic excellence, I encouraged her to apply and assured her that we would succeed together.’’ Karangwa notes.

’’In March 2021, we both discovered that the program offered much more than just public speaking and English language skills. Before joining Kepler, we had no experience with using laptops or email, and were more comfortable speaking French than English. Despite the challenges of balancing parenting of three children, full-time teaching in a secondary school at Kiziba refugee camp, attending classes and completing assignments, we were able to meet Kepler’s four competency requirements per month.’’ affirms Karangwa.

The Kepler model makes sure that as students, we are confident about our skill set. It offers a range of hard and soft skills that set us apart on the job market. The model takes pride in teaching through experience, and we have personally seen how this enhances our talents.’’ highlighted Toyota.

‘’Being a mother and a student is challenging because of the many responsibilities like keeping up with class assignments, taking care of children and managing household chores. I handle this by having a plan. I made a schedule of all the repetitive activities and also included the home activities to make sure that I do not miss out what I am supposed to do.’’ Toyota explains.

“If I were to take you through our day, we leave home after cooking all the food for the day, join campus at 8 am after making sure that our children will have to go home and get food to eat for the whole day. This is different from other students who are still single, but this is how we manage.” Said Karangwa.

‘’We made the tough decision to quit our jobs and live on a stipend so as to pursue our dreams of higher education. We believe that this was a risk worth taking as we work for a brighter future. We also pride in the fact that we set a good example for others in the camp to chase their dreams. We firmly believe that education is the key to success, and we want to instill this value in our children and the wider community. Thanks to Kepler, we have acquired knowledge and skills that will enable us to achieve our aspirations. ‘’ Reflects the couple.