Born and raised in Burundi, Côme Nziberaga has a gift for languages; he speaks five – French, Swahili, Kirundi, Amharic, and English. In 2005, languages helped him land a job as a translator for a United Nations peacekeeping force sent to Burundi, which for decades has been plagued by conflicts between the nation’s two largest ethnic groups.
By assisting the peacekeeping force, Côme became a target of a rebel group and was forced to flee to escape torture and civil war. He became a refugee in Ethiopia for six years before being invited to permanently resettle in the U.S.
After his experience, Côme shares that he believes refugee camps are the richest places in the world.
“I believe some of the problems the world faces right now, the solution is found in those refugees who do not have the opportunity to achieve the purpose they were created for. What if we saw the refugee crisis going on right now as an opportunity, not as a problem?”
Côme is now an Employment Specialist at World Relief Tri-Cities, welcoming and empowering others. He speaks in public regularly about the role of immigrants in our evolving society, hopeful as he shares his insights in order to create more inclusive communities and societies.
Hear more of his story shared at TEDx Spokane and TEDx Coeur D’Alene.
As the refugee cap hopefully increases to 125,000 in the new fiscal year, we’re entering into a new moment in America, one in which we urgently need your help to rebuild our capacity to welcome, love and support refugees and give them the opportunity to achieve their purpose. Will you join us as we rebuild here in Tri-Cities?