Location: Mtendeli Refugee Camp, Tanzania
Due to political violence in Burundi in 2015, Irene’s father and grandfather were killed. At this time, youth militias also tried to recruit Irene and her sister due to their athletic nature. However, Irene’s mother refused for her daughters to participate and supported Irene and her sister to flee to Tanzania. Unfortunately, Irene’s mother is still in Burundi, but she has not been able to communicate with her since arriving in Tanzania.
From the time she was a small child, Irene loved to play soccer. She loves to learn about soccer but also teach others about soccer. The children in the Mtendeli refugee camp face many challenges and hardships and Irene feels that the RUSA program is able to help them. Irene enjoys helping children develop their talents through the RUSA program and also notices that the children in her Academy are attending school more regularly. Irene’s sister is also a soccer player and is proud of Irene for being a RUSA coach. Irene and her sister both play on a soccer teams in the camps and children often come around to Irene’s home in the camp to play soccer with her for fun.
Irene was studying IT and Business in Burundi, but was unable to continue her studies after she arrived in Tanzania. She hopes to continue her studies and one day attend university to study computer science. She has no plans to return to Burundi because she feels that it is a land of never-ending conflict. She would like to create a successful life for herself through education and would like to continue being a soccer coach. She would also like more training on integrating psychosocial support and counseling through sports and dreams of being recognized internationally as an example of success out of hardship in order to inspire others and hopes that this fame would reach her mother so that her mother knows she is ok and successful.