While some people spend half their lifetime drowning in self-pity because of a disability, Marie Goreth Nyiraminani lives her life trying to make people happy.
On June 27th, 1981, the 30-year-old Nyiraminani was born deaf and dumb and so was her younger sister. She lost her mother, two sisters while three of her brothers disappeared during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. She was left with her father who moved to Uganda.
Going through such terrible circumstancesdid not stop the joyous Nyiraminani from fulfilling her childhood dream of helping the deaf and dumb.
Jolanda Harrewijn, a sign language Specialist with the Rwanda National Union of the Deaf (RNUD), deliberated the translations of the deaf pastor.
Nyiraminani attended her Primary School education at Butare School for the deaf. In 2001, she went to Kenya where she pursued a one-year course in Bible school.
The skills that she attained at the Bible school enabled her to start up a church for the deaf and dumb in Kigali. The rented room is next to the Union des Eglise Baptistes du Rwanda (UEBR) main church.
Nyiraminani proves the statement ‘Disability is not Inability’ right. She aims at uplifting the deaf and dumb community in all aspects of their life. There was no better way than starting up churches for the deaf and dumb.
She said: “I had to look for a room that was next to a church for the normal people because Churches usually don’t have any kind of programme for the deaf and dumb.”
The need for the programme was well received and Nyiraminani and a few colleagues set up eight churches around Rwanda. They go schools-to- school teaching deaf and dumb students the gospel.
“I do mission work because I don’t want the deaf and dumb to miss out on the Gospel. I also teach sign language to people who talk so that they can easily communicate with the deaf and dumb,” Nyiraminani explained.
The church service of the deaf and dumb is breath-taking. They sing praises and worship using signs while others drum. Just like any other church, they have inspiring sermons. Nyiraminani is the pastor of the Kigali church, and during her sermons,she encourages the congregation to be thankful to God and believe in themselves.
Although she is still single, Nyiraminani believes she will get married on one beautiful day. Besides being a pastor, Nyiraminani is the women representative at the Rwanda National Union for the deaf where she does voluntary work.
Besides preaching, Nyiraminani is an artist and hair dresser who earns a living from her diverse talents. She looks after her young deaf sister.
“I am living my dream,” says Nyiraminani.