Mireille Tushiminina is 38-year old mother of two who has been living in Braintree, MA since 2008. Mireille was however born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa. She received an early education in Belgium. Mireille returned to the DRC but left in 1994 to pursue a Bachelors of Science in Biology at Northeastern University. Mireille also studied Medicine at St. Matthews School of Medicine in Cayman Islands, and she has an M.B.A in Healthcare Management from Davenport University.
The war began about two years after her departure for Boston, but Mireille remembers that there was some political tension in Kinshasa before she left. Mireille’s family joined her in Boston in 1999 after spending a summer vacation in Paris and not being unable to return to their home in the DRC because of the war. Mireille was therefore reunited with her mother, two sisters, and brother.
Mireille has always been passionate about generating female empowerment for African women through advocacy; and that entails, developing sustainable programs that alleviate poverty and poor health and encourage collective social entrepreneurship.
One of the ways she has been doing this effectively and continues to do so, is through the Shalupe Foundation. She is in fact the Co-founder and Executive Director of the non-profit organization. The organization started out with Mireille and her mother in the early 1990s. Her mother met about a dozen youth outreach representatives from a military camp who were keen on sharing “the Gospel” with their age mates. Mireille herself was a youth outreach representative for her local church. She was just as intrigued as her mother was by this phenomenon and together, they opened up their home to young people who needed shelter, love, comfort, a good meal or just some advice. Soon enough, they began to help young mothers as well, giving them job training and academic support.
With the onset of the war, the number of children seeking refuge in their home increased as some of them had lost both parents or ran away from camps where they were fated to be child soldiers.
Mireille also organizes the annual African Festival of Boston which will be marking its five year anniversary next year. Like many of the other causes Mireille puts together, this event seeks to showcase the rich culture of the African continent that many are unfamiliar with.
Mireille’s consistent involvement and efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2011, Mireille was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship Award. The Crans Montana Leaders for Tomorrow award followed in 2012, and this year she has been nominated for the Archbishop Tutu Fellowship program.
Though Mireille is impressed with what she has been able to achieve so far, she continues to push forward with her hopeful vision for Africa, anticipating that her young ones and many others like them, will someday get to experience the fruits of her labor.
View the full interview here.