Marie Nikuze

From: Kigali, Rwanda  Current City: Atlanta, GA
"We went in the forest sometimes to cut firewood in order to cook food. If you didn’t have money you couldn’t buy charcoal or use gas for the fire."
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After the initial struggles she faced in moving to the United States, Marie Nikuze has grown more comfortable in her new life.

Marie was born in Rwanda in 1999. Her parents fled their home of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in order to escape the ongoing civil war. They arrived at a Rwandan refugee camp where Marie spent her early childhood years. Life in the camp was difficult. Marie struggled to find enough food to eat, and she could not afford to attend school after the ninth grade.

One day, individuals from the American Refugee Committee came to talk to Marie and her family. After a series of interviews, she was selected for refugee resettlement in the United States. It was a bittersweet feeling. While she excited for this life-changing opportunity, it was hard to say goodbye to her friends and everything familiar to her.

In 2015 Marie arrived in Atlanta, Georgia. She met her case worker who then helped her settle into her new apartment. Marie was shocked at how different Atlanta was to the camp in Rwanda. Here, she had to cook with a stove instead of a charcoal fire. In addition, she was in awe of the giant skyscrapers. In the future, Marie wants to become a pediatrician and help children back in Rwanda.

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