Josepha Ntakirutimana

Community Health Promoter, International Rescue Committee (IRC)

A native of Rwanda, Josepha came to the U.S. as a refugee in 2013 and was resettled in Tucson.  Josepha was a nurse in Rwanda for 21 years.  After the 1994 genocide, she and her husband and four children were displaced within Rwanda.  Her husband was falsely accused for participating in the genocide and placed in prison for nine years.  Upon his release in 2004, the family fled to Malawi and spent the next nine years living in refugee camps.  In the second camp her family lived in, Josepha went to school to learn English, tailoring, computer skills, and counseling.  Josepha worked in a tailor shop to support her family and then as a school counselor, where she started a group for unaccompanied minors.  She created projects for them to help make money while encouraging them to stay in school.  Upon resettling in Tucson in 2013, Josepha and her husband started as caregivers and then began interpreting for the IRC.  Josepha’s current role as Community Health Promoter in Tucson’s New Roots garden/nutrition program allows her to combine her interpretation skills, her talent as a counselor, and her passion for food and agriculture. 

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