Odette Nyirandayambaje’s Story, Rwanda
Odette Nyirandayambaje bursts into a wide smile as she is swarmed by former students. They rush to put their arms around her. As she enters the dark classroom, she claps to get the attention of the rest of the children, who are already looking at her and shrieking with excitement. With all eyes on her, she tells everyone to stand before leading the class in an enthusiastic song.
A well known figure in her community, Odette is the Social Affairs Representative at Kigeme refugee camp. But that’s not all she is. “I am a teacher,” she says proudly.
Certified in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Odette says she began teaching primary school in Rwanda to approximately 120 children, mostly young girls, at the start of 2013. But a year later, she says, “I had to stop.” Rwanda’s Board of Education found the name on her teaching documents from the DRC different from the name under which she is registered as a refugee. Odette says she is waiting to get the matter sorted, and can’t wait to return to the classroom. “I really love children,” she says with a smile.