Empowering Refugee Women
Our mission is to empower refugee women with tools and resources to enhance and develop their skills through education to successfully integrate and become self sufficient and independent into American society while still maintaining respective cultural values.
Our ultimate vision is to ensure that refugee women can live dignified lives, with financial independence and a support system to guarantee them success despite the enormous obstacles in their way.
Founder of Umoja Abq
Chantal Muhumure, from Rwanda and born in DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), mother of three children and eighteen years of marriage, is passionate about empowering refugee women in education. She holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science and Information Technology and a postgraduate degree in education and vocational training for women. She works at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) as an instructor in CIS. As founder and executive director of Umoja Abq her dream of empowering women through education is coming true! After finishing her studies in Computer Engineering and Information Technology, Chantal began working as an instructor in the computer department which gave her tremendous experience interacting with different students, many of whom were girls who loved her club (she advised girls to join science and technology fields). A few years later, she received a postgraduate degree in teaching and learning, which qualified her to teach for colleges and universities in Rwanda. She had the opportunity to participate in a vocational development program for women and public sector management program abroad which was beneficial for different women and girls in Rwanda. Moving to the United States was a challenge and helped push Chantal to start Umoja Abq. She believes in empowering women through vocational and education training. She strives to help refugee women connect, learn, and build community, ultimately leading to their and their family’s self sufficiency. Her volunteer work in refugee communities made her an invaluable advocate within Albuquerque Public Schools as a Refugee Student Specialist. She speaks multiple languages including French, Swahili, Kirundi, Kinyarwanda, Kinyamulenge and English From 2013 - 2016 Chantal worked with refugee resettlement agencies, where she had the chance to meet many refugee women who had no opportunity to be educated in their home countries. Chantal taught English and held many educational workshops, with topics covering how to access health care, banking services, housing opportunities, and school for the children. These workshops helped women take active roles in the community, all while supporting women and their families to adapt to a new culture. In 2017, Chantal moved to Albuquerque. She has found that many refugee women have the same challenges that she experienced which continues her passion to empower women in education, vocational training, and how they can integrate in a new county. Now she is a leading refugee women’s empowerment through Umoja Abq in Albuquerque working with community organizations across the city. In 2020, Chantal received the Everyday Hero award from the State of New Mexico and in 2022, Chantal received the Eagle Award from US Eagle Federal Credit Union.