WOW Ambassador: Marie Goreth Ruzirabwoba
Nominator: Cécile Nicayenzi

Sister of the Heart

When Cécile Nicayenzi came from Burundi in November 2014 to visit her daughter who had recently delivered premature twins in Montréal, her plan was to stay for six months. Then the political crisis erupted in Burundi. Her husband became a refugee in Rwanda. She was granted refugee status in 2016 and moved to Ottawa.  

Throughout her difficult journey, she could count on one exceptional person who became her Welcoming Ottawa Ambassador. 

“Moving to a new city is never easy,” remarks Cécile. “Marie Goreth Ruzirabwoba guided me through the various steps as an asylum seeker.” 

Lack of affordable housing is a major issue for many newcomers. When Cécile first came to Ottawa she was housed for three months in a Vanier motel. “I met Marie Goreth through a mutual friend of my daughter’s,” says Cécile Nicayenzi. Marie Goreth lived close to the motel where I was living. She took me to my appointments with immigration lawyers, doctors and social service agencies