When I was just a few months old, my parents fled the violence of Congo, taking me, their first-born son, to a Rwandan refugee camp. In this camp–a place lacking everything from electricity to job opportunities for even the most highly educated and skilled people–I received my first taste of education, the importance of friendship, and the responsibility an eldest son has to his family. By the time I was 18, I had almost completed my high school education, and I anxiously awaited the end of a two-year process that would allow my family and me to come to the United States.
A little over two years after arriving here, I am now 21 years old. I’ve had the opportunity to interact with other immigrants, as well as with students and teachers who have lived here their entire lives. And I’ve had the experience of becoming a part of the American workforce.
These are the words of Gentil Ndizihiwe, 2016 Strictly Business Inspiration Award winner. Gentil is a client of our Center for New Americans and graduate of our Project WOW program. Read Gentil’s full essay on NewsWorks’ online blog Speak Easy.