Rwandan to go home to teach

A native of Rwanda who recently received his United States citizenship, Brother Donat Kubwimana is studying at Queens College and plans to use his knowledge to educate others.
Kubwimana left Rwanda in 1995 after some of his friends and a family member had been killed during the country’s genocide. Along with 10 other people, he eventually made it to Kenya, remaining there for eight years.
On January 15, 2003, Kubwimana arrived in the United States. He said that the first challenge he faced was really with the cold weather, which was difficult for him to adjust to.
Kubwimana, who is a brother in the Congregation of Holy Cross, came to the United States because other members wanted him to since he was having document problems in Africa.
“Even if you’ve suffered through war, crime, poverty or other adversity, you can still be successful if you’re motivated and don’t give up,” said Kubwimana. This is also the advice he gives to students.
After earning his GED, Kubwimana began studying at Queensborough Community College. He later transferred to Queens College, majoring in French and minoring in education. Kubwimana has since graduated from Queens College but is now there once again, this time studying for his Master’s in French.
“I want to teach in high schools after finishing,” he said, adding that he wants to give back what he has received by helping people to study and gain knowledge.
In January, Kubwimana started as a student teacher of French at Holy Cross High School. He will be working with grades seven through 12.
Kubwimana also volunteers teaching catechism to children in Cambria Heights. When he was in Montreal over the summer at the St. Joseph Oratory, he took a tour of the shrine since he knew of its history. He said he met people from all over the world while doing it.
Last May, Kubwimana received recognition from Queensborough Community College for his service there as a tutor for two semesters. He said it felt good to be honored and that it also gives him extra encouragement to help other students get more knowledge.
Since coming to the United States, Kubwimana said that one of his fondest memories is the respect the brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross have for him and how they have assisted him.
“The experience I remember is how much my brothers here in Holy Cross helped me by giving me time to do my education and also how they care so much for me,” he said. “That is an experience I see. It stays in my heart so I do much appreciate and am grateful for whatever they did for me.”
Kubwimana also said that he was happy and grateful to receive his United States Citizenship on January 8. He said that having it opens many doors for him and that he knows it is not something everyone can obtain.
“For me, it is a blessing to be a citizen of the United States,” Kubwimana said.

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