Gabriel Ndayishimiye was born in 1994, just two months before the most critical moment in Rwanda’s history, an inflection point known to all who’ve confronted genocide. He and members of his family were lucky to count themselves among the survivors. They fled and sought refuge in Tanzania. While trying to recover from the horrors behind them and reckon with the many forces that complicated their life in exile, by 2002, Tanzania’s political situation compelled them to run farther to a safer place. They settled in Dzaleka, Malawi’s long-serving refugee camp and his longtime home.
Sponsored by Huron University College, he arrived in Canada in 2016 to pursue a degree in Globalization Studies. Four years later, he graduated with an Honours Specialization and a wealth of experiences beyond his wildest dreams. The opportunity to study in Canada changed his life forever and in ways he couldn’t possibly have imagined.
In addition to having lived as a refugee across Africa, Gabriel comes from a fatherless background. Growing up without his father was never a big problem until his son’s birth in 2017. A conflicted history drove him into perpetual guilt and regret. At the same time, persistent fear of sudden death led him to write letters to his son, Elvin Gabriel Jr. These letters were the only way he could have conversations with his distant son. He wanted his son to know his history and share small pieces of wisdom he has learned to guide his little boy as he grows into an adult.