Short Bio: Twenty-Two year old Dominique Uwase Alonga is the founder of Imagine We Rwanda. She is graduate of Jain University, India with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Studies. “I always believed that I could help the children of Rwanda and that is what has driven me to start this organization.”
She is using her counselling skills in her work with kids and children of Rwanda.
My basic idea about counselling was the first thing we were told not to do during the very first session; ADVICE GIVING. I registered to the course wanting the master the skill of advice giving, only to be told that it is the wrongest help one could provide to their family, friends and of course, future clients. I was completely shocked and I wondered if what could counselling be about if not advice giving? The journey took six months and I wish it was a four year course.
I loved the environment that Kelly and Amos created; a safe place as they called it. The small hall where we studied slowly changed from just a hall to a place where emotions were validated, vulnerability was empowered, and honesty was required. We were not there for the theory; we all had to bring our hearts in the game. And mine broke a few times as we heard some of the most heart-wrenching stories shared in the safe place.
I personally learned to listen and to empathize. The struggle of always considering or comparing a certain story to another began to dissolve. I always thought that people should consider the worst case scenario to have something to be grateful for. However, we learned that we need to validate people’s feelings and emotions because where they are, at that specific moment, are hurting and they could care less about world peace or war. If it hurts them, no matter how small, I am there to be with them.
One of the most powerful things I learned in the course was that I was NOT a solution giver. Kelly and Amos kept repeating to us; “They are the experts on their own lives; not you!” At first, it sounded ridiculous but they repeated it until we felt it was natural. I believe I learned humility; I learned to value people as they are even if I don’t agree. I learned to give people space and not force my emotions on them. I learned to kill the desire to “fix people”. Who was I anyway?
After the session, I could see myself and others in other lenses. I was much more gracious to myself as well. I learned to respect my emotions and not play the comparison game; if I was hurting, I needed to be in that space for as long as I felt was good for me. This course helped me become a better friend, leader, sister, daughter and most importantly, a better me.
Thank you Amos and Kelly. You truly are building the ancient ruins.