African-Irish Activist's 'Long Journey' to Rise as a Social Worker is the Inspiration We Need
(Image credit: Twitter/ @Diane_Ihirwe)
Hope is contagious and if you disagree with this saying, then you just have to look at the twitter thread going viral for all the right reasons.
African-Irish activist Diane Ihirwe took to Twitter on Monday to share her story and inspire people to pursue their dreams even though things might not go their way sometimes. The tweet has received over 3.1K likes and is a much needed message at a time when much seems lost.
To mark the first day of working as a professional social worker, Diane narrated her story in a series of ten tweets. She said that her journey from a refugee from Congo to present day has been long and it was something she never talked about.
At a time when social justice movements like Black Lives Matter have gained voices from across the world, Diane said that she wanted to share her story. She hoped that it would help someone to realise that it is not where they come from that makes the difference, but the path that they choose that matters.
Diane was born in Congo into a family of Rwandan descent, at the time when Congo was reported to be one of the worst countries to live in for women. Her family was personally affected by the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
The genocide involved two ethnic communities of Rwanda – the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority. The Hutu nationalists led a carnage against the Tutsi minorities backed by the government. As many as 8,00,000 people were killed in the violence which included mostly the Tutsis.
By the time Diane was 15, she had seen a lot of violence and had applied for asylum in Europe as an unaccompanied minor. She was kept in a hostel run by security agents where children were minded by security men and women. Diane said that they lived on €19.10 a week.
To escape the brutal conditions of the hostel, Diane went on to live with an abusive man who was 21 years older than her. By 17, she was pregnant with her first child and by 20, she had another child. Diane was a victim of domestic violence and had to leave her kids to seek refuge. The women helped her acquire skills and education she needed to be independent of abusive men and went on to complete her Masters from Dublin’s prestigious Trinity College.
Today was my first day as a social worker. A fully qualified social worker. It's been a long journey that I never talk about. I want to share my story in hope that it helps someone to realise that it's not where you came from, it's where you're going. A long thread. /1 pic.twitter.com/1UX0DwuJsy— Diane (@Diane_Ihirwe) October 12, 2020
She mentions a woman named Sandra who inspired her to become a social worker at Trinity. Expressing her gratitude for Sandra, Diane said, “My desire to be a social worker came from her. I wasn't my story, my past or a file. To her, I was a child/young person who needed guidance. She was genuine and treated me with respect. She inspired me. Today, as I finish my 1st day as a professionally qualified social worker.”