Ella is a graduate of Health Care Management and works as a Refugee College Guidance Counselor with Kepler in Rwanda. Originally from Burundi, Ella came to Rwanda in 2015. While studying with Kepler in Kigali, Ella was invited to attend and deliver a speech at Mobile Learning Week in Paris with UNHCR. That was how she first ventured into advocating for refugee education, later becoming a Refugee College Guidance Counselor with Kepler. “Refugees face a lot of barriers”, Ella explains. “Before and after graduation. We assist them with tackling all the challenges”. As a Guidance Counsellor, Ella is responsible for managing Kepler’s scholar preparation programmes throughout Rwanda, developing the curriculum for teacher assistants, and supporting refugee students before, during and after their studies.
Ella is determined to increase the number of refugee youth who can access higher education, especially girls and young women. Conducting preparatory training for aspiring students, Ella observed the array of barriers in the way of girls’ education and supported her students to overcome them. “When I see their success, I am so proud”, Ella says, adding that being open to her students and ready to learn from their struggles and unique experiences is a big factor in her work being impactful.
Currently, Ella and her colleague Sadiki are working on establishing an Africa-wide network of refugee college guidance counselors, including development of the training curriculum and teaching material. In doing this, Ella and Sadiki are breaking new ground. Ella is motivated by seeing the impact her work has. “You feel like you are doing something great, when you see a smile on someone else’s face”.