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Rwandan refugee overcomes tragedy, builds life and plans trip to Africa to help orphans

Connecticut Families

MADISON – Joshua Ruzibuka enjoys a coloring book with his son who is five; the exact age when this African man lost everything during violence in the Congo.

“My family was killed and I had to survive by myself,” says Ruzibuka who lived on the streets and in refugee camps for fifteen years before coming to the United States in 2013. “When I got here, it was like you woke up now, seeing really how life is. Yeah, it’s a dream,” he says.

Right away, he accepted a job as a dishwasher at the Madison Beach Hotel.

“Joshua came and made a big impression on everyone right away, just with his drive, his initiative, his desire to learn and grow,” says hotel manager John Mathers.

Ruzibuka, now 28, taught himself English by watching movies and learned everything in the kitchen until he moved up to a role as a cook. Now, he’s dedicated to helping other refugees secure employment.

“Then he would give them rides to work even on his days off,” explains Mathers. “He’d come back at ten or eleven at night to pick them up after and does it willfully and gladfully…his attitude is infectious, too. He’s influenced our entire staff.”

Recently, Ruzibuka’s generosity was recognized by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and the Hilton Hotels and Resorts. But, he’s not looking for attention, he just wants to spare others from the trauma he experienced.

“April 6, I go back to Africa to pay school fees for kids,” explains Ruzibuka. “I didn’t get that chance to go to school but I want orphans to prepare their future so they can go to school.”

“Even $20, back in Africa, it’s a lot of money,” says his wife, Sandra Kasonga.

Joshua is so grateful that he’s giving he’s young daughter and son a different life. “I want them to get everything they want, no matter if I don’t have it, I try my best,” he says.

But, he won’t stop until more children in Africa are safe, cared for and thriving: “(I will) keep going to help people, to make a life, to make future of orphans be better.”

Joshua is trying to raise $6,000 for his upcoming trip. He also has plans to form The Joshua Foundation” so his work, helping others, can continue.

Click here to support his mission.

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