When Liliane Kamikazi was 10 years old, most of her family was killed during the Rwandan genocide. She and her sister were all who remained of what had once been a large, close, extended family. After surviving the unimaginable, Liliane clung to the words her mother used to tell her when she was facing a difficult challenge: “Honey, don’t give up. I know it’s hard, but you can’t quit.”
Guided by the echoes of her mother’s voice, Liliane was determined to find a way to have a better life someday. In 2007, when she was 23, she came to the U.S., despite not knowing any English, in pursuit of an education. She taught herself the language and earned a bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific University.
Today, she is a web producer and social strategist for Starbucks Coffee Company where she served as an associate producer on “Hingakawa,” a short documentary centering on the Rwandan genocide. She’s also currently earning her master’s degree from Seattle University in non-profit leadership.
Although her own childhood was taken from her, she’s determined to make the world a better place for other young women and girls. In 2017, Liliane founded A Bridge for Girls, a non-profit which supports impoverished girls and young women in Rwanda by providing access to education and job skills.