Former refugee Juvenal says education is the key to life

Juvenal Ndayishimiye has overcome a level of adversity that most people will never see. After fleeing his war-torn homeland of Burundi, he spent six years in a refugee camp in Kenya, prior to leaving his girlfriend behind to pursue a university education and better life for the couple.

His goal was realised just two years after being granted to right to settle in Australia, when he graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Business (Logistics and Supply Chain Management).

During his studies, Juvenal’s dedication saw him earn a Griffith Futures Scholarship, awarded to students who are excelling in their studies despite personal or financial hardship. That scholarship meant so much more to him than just a financial leg up.

“I’ll always appreciate it. I was made to feel I belonged. I was made to feel valued,” Juvenal said.

“I had to flee my country. You can’t imagine all the things you miss. You worry about the people you left behind. You worry constantly about the future. It was such a tough time.

“Education is the key to life. I would have been happy with $100. But this scholarship helped me so much with my daily needs. I will always be grateful.”

Today, he is a long-serving employee at Suncorp and he and wife Odette are doting parents to daughters Michelle, Gabrielle and son Jarvis. Juvenal also carries the best interests of other young people among South East Queensland’s significant Burundi community through his volunteer work.

“My involvement with the Association of the Burundian Community of Queensland has enabled me to run youth mentoring projects in the community, working with the support of Logan City Council.

“It’s a way of helping people to bridge the gap between their former life and their new future.”

Juvenal still thinks about his Griffith Futures Scholarship, likening its support as a planted seed that grows and bears fruit in a never-ending cycle of giving.

“I will always be grateful for my scholarship and today, I try to repay that generosity by helping others in any way I can.

“I want to ease the struggle of others, as my struggle was eased.”

Juvenal Ndayishimiye

Scholarship recipient and Griffith graduate

Bachelor of Business (Logistics and Supply Chain Management)