British-South African Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw has taken sometime off being on TV to visit her birth continent of Africa, for some charity work with UNHCFR (United Nations Higher Commissioner for refugees) in Rwanda. After all, they say Charity begins at home and it is always a great show of love and support to give back to the less-privileged. I also like it when our African Superstars (i usually just call them exports) who are successful in the international scenes come back home and use their influence to really do something meaningful and effect change no matter how small it may be.

Like all things Gugu, she still managed to look so effortless and angelic in the middle of charity work. She shared most of her experiences and activities from Rwanda via her social media and she got to learn some real fun skills from the beautiful people of Burundi. Read all of her gratifying experiences below.

“I met Burundian refugee women who use traditional Rwandan weaving techniques to create beautiful bags and baskets to sell. It’s part of UNHCR’s #MADE51 initiative, which helps connect refugee-made products with international markets. No one wants to be in a refugee-like situation. No one wants to feel dependent on aid. The women told me that the money they earn and the skills they learn make them feel empowered and independent. They feel like they’ve regained a sense of control over their futures. Everyone I spoke to found a sense of solace and healing in this creative female forum… a place to share problems and build a community of women”.

“Angelique Renaissance emits a radiance that truly humanises our perception of what it means to be a refugee. ☀️She had just arrived from the reception centre into Mahama camp. As soon as she was registered she was given a box full of essential items such as cups, plates, knives, forks, pots, stirring spoons as well as a solar light and a mattress. She was so happy to be somewhere safe and to feel protected – despite such a desperate journey her relief and joy at being somewhere safe was tangible”.

Over the last week I’ve been in Rwanda with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. I’ve met Congolese and Burundian refugees, who have fled from two of the most forgotten crises in the world, and learnt about some amazing projects that have been set up in the camps to help build livelihoods and empower the refugees there.

To be able to fully experience someone else’s pain, you need to walk a mile in their shoes. When you are done, take a minute or two and be thankful for all that you have!

Great Job Gugu Mbatha-Raw, those dancing skills could use a little more finessing but overall, your positive spirit in infectious and admired! I am very sure this was a life changing experience.

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