Gentille A GirlForward Story

I was born in 2000 in Western Province, Rwanda.

War was happening in the Congo, and so my parents crossed into Rwanda. I grew up there for 14 years, in a camp for Congolese refugees.

I started going to primary school when I was six years old. When I got home every day, I would watch my brothers, clean the house and help my mom. Every day I had to go and get water from the well. There would be a lot of people there, so it would take a long time.

When I was younger, I didn’t understand that our life was very hard. Sometimes there wasn’t food to eat. I would go and find wood to cook with, and sometimes I had to go far.

Once my dad applied to resettle in a new country, it took almost two years. But then we found out we were coming to the U.S.

There were so many cars at the airport - I thought everyone in my family must be getting a car. I asked my dad when I would get my car, and he laughed. “What do you mean?” he said, “You don’t even have a bicycle.”

Last year at Camp GirlForward, we met the GirlForward Chicago girls on the video screen. Right away, I saw my Emerance, my best friend from Rwanda. When I saw her face to face, I was so surprised. It made me happy to see that we are both in GirlForward which we love.

My mentor is like my sister. I tell her everything I want to talk about. She taught me how to grow and plan for my future. My head tells me to be a basketball player but my heart tells me to be a social worker or a nurse. I like to help people, and I want to help people who have had a hard life.

GirlForward provides girls like Gentille with the resources and support they need to achieve their dreams. Join GirlForward in creating opportunity for refugee girls by giving today.

Illustrations by Cori Lin Art.


Laura Eldon/Oxfam.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.