Heroes of Humanity: Dr Mirreille Twayigira, Malawi

“I would love to work with refugees as I know what they go through. I want to give back to Malawi, because Malawi has given me so much.”

Dr Mirreille Twayigira is destined to become a champion of refugees in the 21st Century.

Dr. Mirreille Twayigira

Dr. Mirreille Twayigira

Mirreille survived the Rwandan genocide, aged 2. She recalls snippets of her father’s funeral and running, terrified, through the forests of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Angola.

For a period the remnants of her family stayed in a refugee camp in Zambia. She credits that camp for saving her life. From there they made the journey to Malawi.

With her grandfather and uncle, she arrived, completing a six-year trek from Rwanda, in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi, having lost her mother and other members of her family along the way. Though life was by no means easy there, and she and her relatives continued to endure hardships, mercy was within the Refugee Camp. They were welcomed by members of the Jesuit Refugee Service and eight-year-old Mirreille’s wellbeing, especially her education, became a priority.

Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi

Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi

Mirreille blossomed at school, transitioning to secondary school from where she graduated as one of the top six performers in Malawi. She says: “If given the resources, refugee children excel. It is probably because of what they went through, they see education as a way out.”

Mirreille was offered Malawian citizenship in 2010, enabling her to accept a scholarship to study medicine in China. In 2016 she graduated as a medical doctor. She returned to Malawi and registered with the Malawian Ministry of Health.

Recalling the contribution the Jesuit Refugee Service made to her journey Dr Twayigira commented: “I would not be here if it were not for JRS. JRS educated me and provided the foundation on which I could build.”

Reflecting on Dr Mirreille Twayigira’s story, the Jesuit Refugee Service describe her journey as an ‘epic tale’, much like that of many other refugees and asylum seekers.

“It is testament to how people in motion give back to a society that welcomes them with hospitality.”

Looking to the future, Mirreille says: “Wherever I am needed, I am willing to go. I want to work with people in the rural areas, I would love to work with refugees as I know what they go through. I want to give back to Malawi, because Malawi has given me so much.”

For those who talk of building walls, closing borders and sending back those who have risked all to find the basics of life on God’s bountiful Earth, Dr Mirreille Twayigira’s story is a parable of the miracles of mercy and an inspiration to every child refugee, given the opportunity.

To read more of Dr Mirreille Twayigira’s story click here:

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