Rwandan family finds a better life in Portland after spending 17 - KPTV - FOX 12

Rwandan family finds a better life in Portland after spending 17 years in refugee camp

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After seventeen years in a Rwandan refugee camp, a family was able to move to Oregon in 2014.

Pascal Habineza, 22, said he, his mother and six younger siblings left a life where food, healthcare and education was hard to come by.

Habineza’s family is originally from Congo, but said because of the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s, they were forced to live in a camp.

“It was a small camp of 21,000 people,” Habineza said.

In 2014, Habineza said the U.S government invited his family to come to Oregon.

“They were warm, eager and happy to be here,” Habineza’s caseworker Laura Walker said. “Pascal and his mom didn’t speak English.”

Unable to speak or understand the language, Habineza said it was difficult at first but he and his siblings were persistent with getting an education.

“Everything was new to me,” Habineza said.

He adds he was happy regardless because this meant he and his family’s life would change and it would be better than the past.

Currently, Habineza is in school full time learning how to become a nurse and works part time at a local hotel.

According to the Immigrant Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) a refugee is someone who has been forced to leave their country because of a well-founded fear of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

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