Perseverance despite the unimaginable: a commitment to education, community and peace in the DRC and Uganda

Season 5, Ep. 4

Content Warning// trauma, violence, gender-based violence

Please be advised that listener discretion is advised as some parts of this conversation are distressing

In 1995, Benson Wereje's village in the Democratic Republic of Congo was attacked by rebels. He was separated from his parents and he endured unimaginable bloodshed before reaching a refugee camp in Uganda. More than five million of Benson's friends and countrymen have been killed in his home area.

Dedicated to empowering youth and imbued with a deep admiration for the transformative impact that education can provide his country, Benson co-founded and became Executive Director of CIYOTA in 2005. Today, CIYOTA educates thousands of children and youths in refugee camps, focuses on community building and strives to unite tribes in the DRC to bring enduring and sustainable peace. 

Join Philanthropod’s host, Anubha Rawat, in an eye-opening and honest discussion with Benson about experiencing and overcoming trauma, how a commitment to equality, forgiveness and education was instilled in him by his father, and how he continues to be inspired by his wife - a modern ‘heroine’. Benson leaves you with a powerful message as to why he believes it is his mission to train young people in responsible leadership and create a unified vision for their country.

For his work, Benson has been awarded the Desmond Tutu fellowship with African Leadership Institute at Oxford University in 2013, an Echoing Green fellowship in New York, the ASHOKA fellowship in 2015 and was a Tony Elumelu Foundation awardee in 2019.

To learn more about CIYOTA follow the link: 

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