Eddyne Ukunze was our 2017-18 Dallaire scholarship recipient. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Rwanda. Eddyne has worked with children and youth in refugee camps in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in the Rwandan countryside.
Here are some excerpts from Eddynes’s welcome remarks in September 2017
“When I am asked to talk about my personal journey, I immediately think about Rwanda’s journey and recovery process. Simply because that’s what has marked my life. I was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where my parents had fled conflict in their home country of Rwanda in 1962. After the genocide against Tutsi of 1994, all my family returned to Rwanda in the same year. At that time, the Rwandan society was facing all sorts of loss in all corners, and community members were concerned in one way or another.
There were only two options for survivors: to die hopeless or to fight for hope. To remain in the darkness or to come back to life. I had learned from my parents the unconditional love and that was my tool for fighting. At school, I had only one concern: seeing my friends who were orphans smile! I wanted them to be free from emotional pain! That was not a simple task for a child, and many times I asked my parents to intervene. I am grateful for their patience and support. I was pulled to helping heal the emotional wounds of those who suffer.
I followed my heart and went to University to study Clinical Psychology and make it my profession. There, I got many opportunities to work with traumatized youth and adult people in Rwanda and Congo.
In 2014, I started working in a program called Community Based Socio-therapy in the eastern province of Rwanda to help people dealing with trauma as we conducted the reconciliation process. After, I worked with Congolese refugee camps in the same program. From 2016, I have started working with children in SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care. Along this process of human rights involvement, I have never worked alone. There have been always people who valued my ambitions and considered my passion to help broken hearts to re-experience the sense of life.”