From refugee to chemical engineer: How an orphan's dreams came true in South Africa

From refugee to chemical engineer: How an orphan's dreams came true in South Africa

- Thierry Ndiyimana recently received his Chemical Engineering Degree at the University of South Africa

- However, he had an extremely difficult journey getting to his graduation day

- As an orphan and asylum seeker in South Africa, Ndiyimana is still fighting for his dream

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A 27-year-old man has achieved his dream of becoming a chemical engineer, however the road leading to his degree was far from easy.

Thierry Ndiyimana, who works as a security guard at a school, and his two sister were left orphaned after they fled their country over war.

Ndiyimana and his family fled Burundi in 1993 when an ethnic war between the Hutus and the Tutsis took his father’s life.

His mother took him and his two sisters to DRC, but it wasn’t long before they had to move again because of war there too.

During their journey to seek refuge, his mother went missing in Tanzania- which led him to flee with his two to Mozambique. They stayed there until 2005 before moving to South Africa.

It was a three-day journey, and Ndiyimana said he remembered the taste of an apple he ate when they arrived in South Africa, having gone a few days without food.

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The orphans were homeless for a couple of weeks, living on the streets Pretoria. He said having the status of asylum-seeker made getting a job extremely hard.

He ended up working at a school as a security guard, which is something he enjoyed doing. The young chemical engineer graduate said he enjoyed giving motivational speeches at school, but he hoped to one day do what he loves.

And, he wants to give back to the community at the same time.

“I would like to use my qualification to plough back to the community and change lives.”, Ndiyimana added.

He is currently working towards his Honour’s degree, and even though he is still having a difficult time in the country, Ndiyimana would remain optimistic and put his faith in God.

“Even though the situation has not changed much for me, I truly believe that something good will come,” he said, adding “All the bad things I go through, God always pulls through for me.”

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