Justus Uwayesu’s story begins in the southeastern part of his beloved country and at one of the grisliest sites of the Rwandan genocide. At the age of 3 he and his siblings lost both of their parents, his father in the
Nyamata Church massacre. Justus and his siblings lived on the streets for years in continual search for food. Eventually he spent a year and one half living out of a car in a junk yard.
“It was a really dark time, because I couldn’t see a future.”
It was there that he met a Red Cross worker who he told of his desire to go to school. Justus wound up in an orphanage run by Esther’s Aid, an organization based in New York, who sent him to primary school.
Justus quickly learned 4 languages and received straight A’s in high school. He was chosen to attend the Babson Entrepreneurship and Leadership Academy. He then started a school club that grew into a large youth-run NGO with a mission of providing access to education to low income children in Rwanda. He ran a tutoring program and helped found a youth charity that spread to high schools nationwide, buying health insurance for poor students and giving medical and scholastic aid to others. After high school he won a seat in the scholars program at Bridge2Rwanda.