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Sharing my story at Parlay House’s “Resilience to Rise” – By Diane Ingabire

Sharing my story at Parlay House’s “Resilience to Rise” – By Diane Ingabire

On December 27, 2017, I received an email inviting me to speak at the Parlay House event “Resilience to Rise.” It took place at the home of SHE-CAN mentor and Parlay House Founder Anne Devereux-Mills. Parlay House brings women together to discuss success stories and issues of concern like how women should fight for their freedom and be recognized as able human beings in society.

I asked myself: What can I share with these successful women as a student born and raised in a different culture? I was a little bit nervous. However, in my mind I told myself it’d be a great opportunity for me to share my story with others.

When I entered Anne’s home, I met brilliant and wonderful women of different age ranges and backgrounds who had crossed various hurdles to reach their goals. There were also young women around my age who were college students and going through similar experiences. My nervousness increased after meeting these women but I knew once I started to share my story I’d be fine. The group was eager to hear from myself and my other SHE-CAN sisters from post-conflict countries: ChelseaSreileak and Sreytom


The first question we were asked was, “Tell us about yourself?” With a smile on my face I answered first. I talked about my home and what my family is like back in Rwanda. From there, I felt confident enough to inspire the mothers and daughters that were sitting and listening to us.  

We discussed our lives back home and what we like in the U.S. We all agreed that access to technology in the U.S. is great, but we find it hard to keep up with the fast-paced environment here. We even agreed keeping a calendar can be a challenge!

Additionally, we chatted about what we love about our home culture. I thought the daughters at Parlay could benefit from some of the values of Rwandan culture. I spoke about respecting your parents and elders, learning how to be creative and figuring out problems on your own. I was fascinated by how happy everyone was after hearing our stories. I learned a lot from my fellow friends on the panel and from the women in attendance who I spoke to throughout the evening.

In summary, I’d like to thank Anne Devereux-Mills who gave myself, my SHE-CAN sisters and all women who attended the opportunity to come together and have important conversations that will help build future women leaders. Additionally, I’d like to thank Kaye Foster, a SHE-CAN supporter and Spelman Trustee, and my incredible SHE-CAN mentors that were with me that night for their moral support: Catherine Jaeger, Paik Swan Low and Barbara Reiter. While I’m away from my family in Rwanda, I think of my mentors support. It gives me the courage to achieve anything I set my mind to, and I know I can become who I want to be in the future.