Coursera for Refugees launched in 2016 to provide free access to Coursera’s catalog to refugees around the world. Today more than 26,000 refugees are learning on Coursera, including Estella.
Estella is a 25-year-old aspiring journalist living in Rwanda after she had to leave her home in Burundi. She participates in Coursera for Refugees through the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). In her own words, here’s her story:
I had heard about Coursera from a friend who was talking about learning platforms and opportunities offered by UNHCR-Rwanda. That same day, I enrolled in my first course: Become a Journalist: Report the News! from Michigan State University.
I had always wanted to take journalism courses, but Burundi universities don’t have journalism departments. When I arrived in Rwanda, life was not exactly smooth sailing. I couldn’t afford to attend the school of my dreams, but I wasn’t going to give up.
“I am passionate about social change and journalistic reporting.”
In 2015, I participated in a church writing group for the Africa Haguruka Magazine, where I got my first taste of journalistic writing. Later, I worked as a writer for Diva Magazine, which celebrates women’s achievements and innovations. While this was a great start for my budding career, I realized I couldn’t go further without more knowledge about the field.
“Finding Coursera was an incredible opportunity for me. I saw it as the beginning of a new journey. I have completed four courses and plan to continue learning in order to achieve my dream of becoming a journalist!”
Coursera and UNHCR-Rwanda have made it easy for me to continue my education. The skills I learned on Coursera give me confidence that will open new doors and job opportunities for me. I don’t plan on stopping here: I’ll keep learning in order to become an even better journalist and communicator.
My next courses will be “Transmedia Writing” from Michigan State University and “Transmedia Storytelling: Narrative Worlds, Emerging technologies, and Global Audiences” from UNSW Sydney.