Silver Jubilee Graduate Claudine Migisha reflects on her time at AU and her plans for the future
Claudine (right) is congratulated by the International Students Adviser Mr. Wehnam Dabale (Nigeria) during the 25th graduation ceremony
Claudine Migisha is the embodiment of the future of Africa that the university aspires to create. Graduating in June 2019, she has become confident in her abilities and convictions that she has a story to tell and much to offer. Her soft spoken and gentle demeanour betray the lioness heart that beats within her as she strives to use the medium of art and her experiences at Africa University to re- educate the women in her community that education is a pathway to greatness and will not as some believe , act as a deterrent to marriage.
My name is Migisha Claudine, I come from the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) called Goma, I am 26 years old. Orphaned at the age of 6 , I faced numerous challenges and difficulties in my quest to access education but I endured until I managed to complete my High School at Maendele Institute in Goma. With the help of the Master Card Foundation Scholarship, I first joined Africa University without having any profieciency in English but this perceived wekness became my strength as I became an example of what hard work and determination looked like, inspiring other women from my country who were also students at this university that it was possible.
AU became a place for me to strengthen my academic performance and English because of the community and the amazing people that I found here. I was forever changed and inspired by the professionalism of our staff and lecturers. There was always a helping hand. AU became a home where my dreams turned to reality. It empowered me and I was able to empower other students in service as a Sub- warden and leader of a number of clubs and societies. This was just the beginning of a great leadership experience and sense of belonging to a Pan-African Community. For this reason, I believe my past 4 years at AU has equipped me with the skills I need to take back to my community.
For the women in my village, education is seen as a hinderance. It is still believed that the only achievement a woman must aspire to is marriage and all else is secondary. I have friends who have purposely stopped their education for fear that they may scare away suitable partners as an educated woman is considered too outspoken, ignorant of her true place in society, argumentative and ultimately a challenge to her man.
My desire is to change this. To bring both men and women to the table and empower them to understand that an educated woman is not a threat but indeed an asset. I know that reversing long held and entrenched perceptions will be difficult but I am up to the challenge.Through me they will see the potential of a woman educated.
Because of Africa University my world has been expanded from the small village that I gre up in. I have had many opportunities to travel to various international leadership conferences in the United States to represent young Congolese women and identify solutions to address their marginalization especially refugee women.
On the 1st of June 2019 I shall attended the Global Movement for Progress of Women Conference under the theme “ WOMEN DELIVER” in Canada. I will always be happy to travel as an ambassador of Africa University.
I came to this university shy, and withdrawn but I was pulled out of my shell and transformed into a warrior woman! I believe that if more young women are given the chance, they can reach far and I am determined to see that happening because I have the vision to start my own organization that emowers women in the Arts Industry. The Arts have an incredible power to heal the deepest of wounds, to spark conversation and through the freedom to be whaterver one wants to be , it can give women a voice.
When I think of Africa University ,I see a powerful institution where young women and girls are given the room to thrive, where they develop a sense of self- worth because they realize that so many people care and are cheering them on which is something some women never experience in their lifetime. There is no amount of time I could be given to articulate what this university has done for me. The only way I know how to show my gratitude is to take the vision and “THE DREAM” with me wherever I go.