The opportunity to study, Rozine’s success story

09 February 2022|Rozine Irabaruta

Related: Education, Kenya

Every year, many students here in Kenya finish secondary school with the aim of joining University, but many fail to do so due to some retrogressive cultural practices such as early marriages. Just recently in the news a story was told of two Sudanese youth forced to get married all in the name of ‘its culture’.

 Financial constraints among many refugees, here in Kenya, is another main reason why many are unable to continue with university education. They are not able to pay tuition fees. This is a challenge I have personally faced.

Rozine is one of the JRS students at the Post Secondary Education (pathfinder) program in Nairobi in partnership with Southern New HampshireUniversity. The pathfinder gives a special scope to higher education, by giving the student not only the knowledge, but the tools and the access to the professional life – one of the biggest challenges youth face in Kenya. And therefore, offering a sustainable and long-lasting solution for the beneficiaries in our program.

My background

My name is Rozine Irabaruta, I am a twenty-three-year-old girl, I come from Rwanda and am currently living in Kenya since 2003. I left my country because as a family we wanted a better start because of the genocide war that took place in Rwanda which had affected my parents, I am the sixth born in a family of ten. I am currently enrolled in the Southern New Hampshire University doing a Degree in Communication as part of the education program that supports refugees in JRS.

My flight and arrival

I came to Nairobi with my family for a better start just like I mentioned and to get quality education which wasn’t offered back then in my country. When we arrived in Kenya, I was still a young girl with 2years so most of the details about how our journey was I can’t really tell. Not once or twice have I ever tried asking my parents, but they ignore the topic which might be really hard for them to even share as a result of trauma especially on my mother’s side.


My experience in Nairobi

Touching more on how my education journey has been:

I have been experiencing challenges in getting some of the basic needs such as the right to education because of lack of proper documentations to use even when doing my final Kenyan examinations both Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (K.C.P.E) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (K.C.S.E).

I stayed at home for two years without joining any University because I lacked proper documents to join a government University and the main issue being that my parents couldn’t fund for any University I wanted to join. In addition, my elder brothers and sisters have been straggling getting jobs because of the issue of documents including the ID’s (Identification Cards) because you can’t simply open a bank account with that type of an Identification Card (ID) here in Kenya and also as a refugee accessing some governmental funds like HELB (Higher Education Loans Board) to assist you as a student in catering for some needs in your preferred government University is a challenge even if you got good grades. In simple terms my life in Nairobi together with my family has been difficult but due to the support we have received from JRS from time-to-time life has been bearable.

Rozine at class
Rozine with two other students at JRS

How did I benefit from JRS?

Like I mentioned before I didn’t know if I’d finish my high school because my parents didn’t have the school fees for me to complete my last two years in high school but thanks to JRS for paying my school fees, I managed to finish the two years. In addition to that, one fruitful day I came across a link of an online competency-based University called Southern New Hampshire which is again facilitated by JRS.  I was lucky enough to have joined the University and since then I have witnessed changes and things turning around all with the help, I received from JRS. I was able to get an internship as an academic advisor for Southern New Hampshire Nairobi University students assisting them in mastering the competencies needed and currently, am working in the Communication and Fundraising department for JRS Country office.


How do I see my future looking like with the help I got from JRS?

All I can say is that JRS has really made me confident in my future because of the different opportunities I’ve been given to learn and grow both professionally and as a lady with vision. Just like Nelson Mandela quotes,

‘There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return’
Nelson Mandela

Honestly speaking, this is both a success story and a testimony for me which was made possible by Jesuit Refugee Services. This clearly shows that everybody deserves a chance in this world and if you think you can make that happen for someone then why not!!!

Thank you JRS for changing my life and as you continue to change more lives for a better future.