My name is Jeremie Minani, and I was born in Rwanda, in a refugee camp called Kigeme; Born into a family broken by war and poverty. I remember as a five year old, building our home from mud...gathering dirt and water to make the walls, using a tarp as a roof and hay as a mattress; At seven witnessing the loss of my best friend to tribalism.
My siblings and I would wake at 5am to walk a 2 hour trip to fetch water for the house before heading to school and my mother, a woman orphaned at 14, leaving the house in the early mornings and coming home late at night with enough to feed us for the day. Without saying much, this was all I ever knew.
But despite the challenges and hardships, what helped me through was our faith and my love for music. The whole refugee camp knew me as the music kid, on a typical day you’d find me chillin’ on the dirt ground in my dirty torn clothes singing and drumming on plastic containers. Music did me well when I felt all too overwhelmed.
When my family was chosen to immigrate to Canada in 2006, one of three families out of the 18,000 refugees in the camp, I brought my love for music, a happiness of mine with me. When we arrived, I remember observing many of the advancements of what was going to be my new home for the very first time, I remember feeling as though I was in a completely different wold. But despite of all the amazing advancement of the this new world, I soon realized that on a micro-level, we weren’t all that different. We are all same people and as hard as it was to believe, i found out that people here had their own challenges and struggles too.
Understanding the power of music, I decided to put my gift to use, and to the best of my ability share my music and story in the hopes of helping people realize that if a kid a refugee camp with all odds stacked against him could overcome, anyone can.
In 2011, after posting some of my songs on YouTube, Fresh I.E, a Manitoban-rapper, noticed the content I was putting out and reached out to me, the two-time Grammy nominee produced my first E.P. and asked me to tour with him across Canada. At the age of 13, I got the opportunity to share my story and use my love of music to impact thousands of young people. My story which is full of pain and loss, was now a tool to literally save lives.
We received unforgettable stories from many young people who’d attend our shows. I had no idea that over the next seven years, I’d be traveling and partnering with numerous organizations doing work in Canada, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Burundi, India, and Jamaica, performing and sharing my testimony from crowds of 20 to 16,000.
Briefly concluding; with my little time on earth, I’ve had the privilege of learning at an early age that life isn’t at all perfect, far from it. The world as is, has been full of pain and suffering; however, though I do not know who you are, or what storms you’ve faced or will face, what I can confidently tell you, is what I’ve also found to be just as true if not truer; that You are carefully created and designed with greatness for greatness, your strength and potential is surely more than you could ever realize. So, when the storms come (and they will), and it might seem like it’ll never stop, know that your greatness surpasses anything that can ever come against you, know that you can’t only overcome, but you can use that which meant to destroy you as a tool to bring about healing and restoration to the lives of people in our world. The world needs you, it needs your story, You are great, and the world needs your greatness.
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