When he was seven, Kamali Muhire walked away from the violent conflict in his home of DRC Congo on foot. Along with his parents and 8 siblings, they walked over 150 miles to the safety of Rwanda’s border. Once there, they were placed in Gihembe Refugee Camp. For 18 years the family of 11 have lived in a tiny 2 room home constructed with mud and wood and do not have electricity or running water. Food is scarce and opportunity is rare. No refugee camp is made for long-term habitation so the conditions are bleak but parts of Congo still remain unsafe today for many. So they remain.
But if you met Kamali outside of the refugee camp, you would never suspect his family’s history. He is bright, engaging, hard working and hopeful for the future. He is studying finance and his reports are full of A’s and B’s. He adores his family and literally gushes when he talks about how beautiful his mother is and beams with pride when he talks about how intelligent his smaller siblings are. He loves football (soccer) and can talk about the game all day.
Kamali has such great potential and at These Numbers Have Faces we do everything we can to help invest in his success. Although Kamali is an exceptional young man, finding a job after he graduates this year will be a big challenge. In Rwanda, unemployment is high–so even simple jobs often have 500-1000 applicants. Kamali is a refugee in a small country and that means that cultural biases will work against him. His parents were farmers when they fled their home—so they have no family network that can help him connect with future employers or mentors. To overcome these barriers, Kamali’s resume needs to be stellar. He needs practical experience that can set him above his peers.
So when he learned that he had been accepted for a summer internship at Delap CPA, in Lake Oswego, his entire family celebrated. This opportunity will provide practical training that will dramatically grow Kamali’s skillset and will open up doors thay may have been previously closed. The opportunity to live in the US for the summer will also provide all kinds of new cultural opportunities. In fact, the opportunities have already begun for Kamali. Remember your first solo roadtrip or adventure? Well Kamali got the chance to return to Congo for the first time since his childhood to get his passport. It was quite the adventure full of opportunities to negotiate the world and grow his confidence. And he hasn’t even set foot in the Delap CPA office yet! Everyone in his family is a faithful follower of Christ and when I asked them how we could pray for their family, Kamali’s father said, “there is nothing to pray for because my son is already so blessed–God has answered our prayers already.”
An internship like this will help Kamali become the first university graduate in his family and help him find a job that will provide a way to leave a life of poverty. That is a whole lot of impact from one internship. We are so thankful to Jared Siegel and all the folks at Delap CPA for making this possible and helping provide one young man the opportunity of his lifetime.