CHICAGO — Sister Rosemary
Nyirumbe, a Ugandan educator who empowers women and girls who survived brutality
at the hands of rebels, will be recognized with an honorary doctorate from
DePaul University for her dedication to social justice.
As director of St. Monica’s Girls’
Tailoring Center, Sister Nyirumbe led an overhaul of the school’s curriculum to
respond to the increasing needs of women, girls and their children who have survived
kidnapping, rape and mass displacement during decades of civil war in Uganda.
She will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree during a Dec. 7 ceremony at
Tangaza College in Nairobi, Kenya.
“Sister Nyirumbe is helping women
and girls weave a new beginning through education. Her vision and advocacy for
this vulnerable population resonate deeply with the legacy of St. Vincent de
Paul, who worked on behalf of the poor and marginalized,” said the Rev. Dennis
H. Holtschneider, C.M., DePaul’s president.
The ceremony is part of
commencement activities for an undergraduate degree program offered by DePaul’s
School for New Learning in partnership with Tangaza College. Nineteen students
will graduate with degrees in leadership and management from the program, which
was established in 2006 with a grant from the Conrad H. Hilton Foundation.
Students in the program include
laypeople and religious men and women who are chosen by their communities
because of their leadership potential.
Founded in 1898 in Chicago, Ill.,
DePaul is the largest Catholic university in the United States. Tangaza College
is also a Catholic institution and prepares graduates for ministerial and
Under Sister Nyirumbe’s
leadership, St. Monica’s has adapted to the practical and trauma-induced needs
of a population suffering in a civil war. Women and girls at St. Monica’s receive
psychological support and literacy training, as well as vocational skills like
sewing and planting crops. Sister Nyirumbe developed a program to help students
earn money by creating purses from soda pop tabs, which is the subject of
“Sewing Hope,” a book and documentary film currently in production. Since 2002,
annual enrollment at St. Monica’s has surged from 31 to more than 300, and most
leave the school with permanent jobs.
Traveling the world to advocate
on behalf of the school, Sister Nyirumbe also brings bring attention to the
ongoing violence caused by rebel groups in Uganda. In 2007, she was named a CNN
Hero. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea praised her
mission and determination earlier this year during a visit to Uganda.
The School for New Learning at
DePaul University provides a distinctive approach to learning for adults, with
customized programs that build upon abilities and experiences, add knowledge
and develop skills to help achieve personal and professional goals. A
fundamental idea behind the school is learning from experience. More
information is online at www.snl.depaul.edu. Information about Tangaza College
is online at www.tangaza.org.