Aimerance Kwihangana has a global perspective few of her fellow students share. Born in Rwanda during a period of genocide, she fled with her family to Tanzania and spent the next 13 years living in a refugee camp. The lasting impressions this experience had on Aimerance, even after she relocated nearly 10,000 miles to Denver, inspired her to help young people in Africa earn an education.
While pursuing a double major in International Business and Finance at CU Denver, she is working to establish a non-profit called “Burundi’s Youth of Tomorrow,” which provides educational resources to schools in one of the world’s poorest countries. Aimerance views her own education as key to helping her make an impact and to becoming a globally-minded entrepreneur who sees the advantages of a diverse workforce. “Diversity is especially important now with globalization. You are always going to meet people with different backgrounds, and you can learn so much from them.”
Aimerance, whose last name means “patience” in her native language, is a graduate of Denver South High School and a transfer student from a community college and Metro State. She says that without a scholarship, she’d be taking classes at a much slower pace in order to work. “It would take a long time to earn a degree, and during that time I would miss out on opportunities I’d otherwise have, like study abroad, which is important for an International Business major.”
Scholarship support gives Aimerance the opportunities and peace of mind she needs to succeed. “I don’t have to worry where funds are going to come from. It’s hard to focus on your studies when you’re worried.” She also views this investment in her education as igniting a chain reaction. “I will use the knowledge I gain to help others,” she explains. “You are a powerful individual once you realize it.”