Ange-Raissa Uzanziga

Ange-Raissa Uzanziga

Quality EducationReduced InequalitiesPartnerships for the goals

Role

Teacher in the Teach for Belgium program

Quote

“I believe in education. I believe in collective strength. I believe everyone can empower someone.” 

Who are you?

I studied political sciences because I wanted to understand society and understand how I could contribute to a better community. I had never thought of becoming a teacher before meeting the Teach for Belgium program. When I understood that school was not a social ladder and social mobility was a quite complex concept in reality, I felt the rage of injustice. It is that rage and the belief that I can contribute to a better future for the youth that moved me into teaching. Today, I believe in the impact of small and big initiatives. This is also what I hope I taught my students. Know your values, understand your value to others and just do your best.

Why are you part of Generation T ?

My greatest competences are: ambitious and I love challenges, I love to learn and I'm an optimist. 
I believe in positive change. I am therefore solution oriented and I like to call myself an energizer. I believe we all have something others need, we need something others have. Collaboration and collection action is for me important in ensuring the sustainability of projects. 

A specific example on how your project or activities make a difference and initiate the change:

When I was teaching in the 5th and 6th grade secondary school. I noticed that students lacked confidence in future opportunities. I found it very sad to see 17-18 year olds giving up so many dreams. I decided to hold a "Speed Sharing" session at my school. The objective of the Speed Sharing session was triple. First, by meeting with people from foreign origins - like them- students got the chance to interact with people they could identify to. The effect of a role model is very important especially at that age. They could for example see that wearing a headscarf does not have to stop a woman from being a lawyer. Second, students got the chance to discover all kind of studies and jobs. They got the chance to ask questions and get advice on a personal basis. The third objective is to bring the outside world into the school, let them meet with 'Les jeunes de Schaarbeek' to break the stereotypes produced by a lot of media and also bring new energy into the school. 

I did this 3 years and some students developed their first network and got student jobs, others enrolled in studies after discovering them at the Speed Sharing. The third year I did this in collaboration with two youth associations and it increased the impact of the project. Some other teachers are planning to reproduce the experience for their students in their schools. 

Who inspired you ? What made you first passionate about sustainability ?

I am inspired by so many people some are famous like Maya Angelou. But most of the time I'm inspired by "average" people who succeed in having an impact who are inspiring by their commitment and love. The first of them is my mother. She raised 4 children and worked and studied at the same time. She never said to any of us that something was too high to reach. She always believed and supported us, when and especially when we did not believe. I'm inspired by teachers at my school who would always go the extra mile to help students. The one who would lend his suit to the boys when they had a job interview, the one who knows everything about refugee legislation to support the students. I'm also inspired by all those who choose and succeed to adopt the zero waste life style. Those are the everyday heroes. I choose to be inspired by them because following their example becomes more feasible and it is a challenge I want to take.