Our Mission

Rwanda Women in Action (RWIA) is a non-profit organization assisting refugee women and their families from the countries of Rwanda, Burundi, and the Republic of Congo. We strive to establish sustainable programs to assist the growing refugee community within Central Ohio. RWIA looks to support, guide, and teach life skills to refugees as they work towards establishing social and economic independence in their new lives.

In 1994 over 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda in just 100 days. Columbus, Ohio has become the asylum to more than 150 refugee Rwandan, Congolese and Burundi women and their families. When they arrive in Central Ohio, most refuges do not speak English, are unfamiliar with American customs and after years of living in refugee camps are inexperienced with the simplest workings of their new homes. They need instruction for tasks like: grocery shopping, use of appliances such as, washing machines, vacuums and ovens. We are working on a pamphlet written in their native languages to provide them with the necessary information.Norah Bagirinka and Tatiana Adams established Rwanda Women In Action in 2007; both survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, these are two women who have first hand knowledge and experience of the cruelty and violence that were perpetrated on the people of their country. Norah and Tatiana have marshaled their experiences and compassion to become the life source for these new refugees in Central Ohio. Their ability to speak different African languages, French and English gives them the means to communicate and interpret for the refugees during legal proceedings, emergency situations and job preparation classes.


General Information

Working to achieve sustainable programs, RWIA has formed a governing board, secured 501(c)3 status and received grants from The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio (to create Refugee Women Transitional Support, a cooperative daycare within the refugee community that gives the women an opportunity to become economically self sufficient) and Schildhouse Founders Fund (to purchase cleaning supplies for the newly arrived refugee families). In addition, The Assistance League of Metro Columbus has generously partnered with RWIA in order to provide health and safety items to complete the cooperative requirements. As well they have provided household items, clothing, shoes, school supplies, and educational toys. RWIA is also grateful for the leadership and training it has received from The Children’s Hunger Alliance in helping to prepare the refugee women to become certified daycare providers.More information and opportunities to donate to RWIA can be found at the website for The Columbus Foundation, www.powerphilanthropy.org To Listen to Norah’s powerful personal story go towww.womensfundcentralohio.org and scroll down to “Watch Social Change Happen” and click on Rwanda Women In Action youtube video. RWIA is a 501C3 and seeks funding through grants and/or private donations to meet their goals.