Alexis is a student at Southern New Hampshire University who is pursuing Bachelors of Arts in Management with concentration in Logistics and Operations. He is available on LinkedIn- https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexis-gashema-86aa6a202/ and on Twitter- Alexis K Gashema.

In 2015, Kepler, a non-governmental organization working in Rwanda since 2013, in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), opened its doors in Kiziba Refugee Camp, Karongi District. The arrival of this golden opportunity is still beyond the thinking of refugees. Before Kepler established its campus in that camp, most of the Kiziba refugees’ dreams were to only pursue their high school diploma. There was no hope to acquire an international degree. Therefore, Kepler is assisting many Kiziba students to achieve their career dreams through an accredited US degree from Southern New Hampshire.

Kepler Kiziba in Kiziba Camp situated in Karongi district-Western province-Rwanda _Photo: Samuel Nsabimana_

Damascene Mwambutsa is a Southern New Hampshire University student at Kepler Kiziba. He said “Since I was doing my secondary studies, my dream in education was to graduate with a high school diploma, and I had no hope of getting a potential job.  He did not imagine how a refugee can get access to higher education and earn an international degree. Interestingly, the refugees learned that the impossible might become possible.

All Kiziba refugees are eager to join Kepler due to the high-quality education provided to its students. Additionally, Kepler trains students in mastering basic technology. In fact, its students are able to type above 52 words per minute using a laptop in no more than 4 months after attending the program. “I did know that typing over 50 words per minute is impossible, Zaninka Umutoni said. Before joining Kepler, she has never used technology in her life. This was her challenge. I did not believe a human being could just type many words in a single minute at such a high speed. Apart from technology, Kepler helps students in improving their both English writing and speaking skills. IXL is a platform that teaches students to work for themselves. A student having mastered these IXL courses is able to write and edit English content, and this is something that Kepler students are aware of. 

In terms of cultural diversity, the Kepler community provides some sessions which allow the students to be adapted to various cultures across the globe. This has been considered something crucial for refugees as some of them are being resettled in other countries. For them, having a hint of diversity will help them make a solid adaptation once they reach other countries of different cultures. “Cultural diversity helps me to recognize and respect other people’s ways of living,” Steven Mugisha said.

As we are in the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been a challenge for most students to keep improving their studies. Before the pandemic, many Kepler students were able to secure jobs in local institutions. Things changed because the Covid-19 pandemic limited job opportunities as many companies minimized the number of employees strong organizations were forced to temporarily close their doors and adopt an online working style in order to keep operating despite the pandemic. As a result, some employers were accustomed to reduce the number of employees with the intent of minimizing the distraction among the people. So, this made some changes in the employment field. For other hiring sectors, it became extremely difficult to employ other workers since the current employees are being expelled from the job. Though it didn’t sound so burdensome on Kepler, the number of students who got jobs was reduced.

As a recommendation, today’s life is based on technology and communications patterns, it is the occasion of Kepler students to focus on online learning style as well as training themselves to speak English fluently. Though Kepler provides some materials to sharpen the students’ minds,  students should extremely build the culture of using English more often. It will help them in terms of being employed and easy communication as the English language is a criterion to secure different jobs and internships opportunities. 

View Alexis Gashema’s LinkedIn profile

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