A trip to the Motherland
Nadine Baranshamaje ’11 was born in Giheta, Burundi. When she was 5 years old, she was orphaned by the Tutsi genocide and spent time in an orphanage before moving to Bethesda, Md. A Posse student at Grinnell, Baranshamaje's leadership skills and personal potential has earned her a full scholarship from Grinnell College.
Baranshamaje wanted to spend her summer volunteering in an orphanage in Burundi to give back to her home country and see her six siblings there.
A host of complications conspired to prevent her from raising the airfare. She was ineligible for a Grinnell Grant, because the U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning for Burundi. When she refocused her energies on nearby Rwanda, she couldn't find a program that would accept an undergraduate.
Baranshamaje wrote about her situation to several professors and administrators on campus. An alumnus heard her story and increased his Pioneer Fund gift to allow the College to provide $3,000 for her airfare and expenses. A professor put her in contact with another Grinnell alumnus working in orphanages in Rwanda and Burundi, and told her about a children's home that needed volunteers.
Baranshamaje is volunteering at Urukundo Children's Home in Rwanda this summer, and visiting her family in Burundi for the first time in 10 years.
Read Baranshamaje's blog.