Overcomers Refugee Services is committed to providing services through case workers who have themselves experienced the dislocation and trauma of forced migration, and who have transformed themselves from refugee to United States citizens.
Both of our case managers came to the US as refugees after being forced to leave their homelands because their lives were at risk. They grew up in cultures similar to the cultures of origin of the people Overcomers serves. They faced similar challenges when they arrived in this community. They understand what new arrivals face. They are members of the refugee communities that Overcomers serves but they are also established members of their New Hampshire community.
This shared experience helps make Overcomers a place where New Americans feel comfortable asking for help and where they know that they will be understood.
Clement Kigugu is the Executive Director at Overcomers Refugees Services. Mr. Kigugu has a broad range of experiences in the areas of social service, employment, medical interpretation, and case management.
Clement has diverse experiences supporting refugees, immigrants, and low-income families. Besides English, Mr. Kigugu speaks Kinyarwanda, French, Swahili, Kirundi, Lingala, and other Congolese languages.
Mr. Kigugu also has a decade worth of non-profit experiences in Rwanda, Africa. Mr. Kigugu has a degree in Management from University Libre de Kigali (ULK), Africa, and is a trained and certified medical interpreter.
Mmunga was born in Eastern Congo. When Mmunga was about 5 years old in 1999, his family fled to Tanzania – a neighboring country - to escape the deadly conflict and ethnic persecution. Mmunga and his family stayed in a refugee camp in Tanzania for 17 years before being resettled to the United States in September 2016.
Before becoming a case manager at Overcomers Refugee Services, Mmunga worked at Concord Walmart for about 3 years - a job he got with the help of Clement Kigugu who was working as an employment coordinator at Ascentria Care Alliance at that time.
Prior to becoming a case manager at Overcomers, Mmunga assisted refugees in the community on his own time. After a few weeks volunteering at Overcomers, a case manager position opened up so Mmunga applied and was selected for the position.
Mmunga graduated from high school in 2014 while living in the refugee camp, and is currently working on his Bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Southern New Hampshire University.
Anne Renner has been the Chair of the Board of Overcomers Refugee Services since 2018. She grew up in Europe. She is a lawyer by profession. She lived in Concord for over 30 years and has a deep appreciation for its caring and engaged community. She has significant experience with nonprofits, and chaired the Boards of the Concord Food Co-op and a local Montessori school for many years. She was inspired to help our refugee communities by a chance encounter many years ago with a Congolese man who had just arrived from a Mozambique refugee camp. She has been involved ever since. In Overcomers, she has found an organization whose mission and approach fulfills her long-term desire to make a meaningful and beneficial difference in the lives of new Americans.
When Carolyn became an adoptive parent she got an education in what it is like to immigrate to the U.S. through the eyes of her internationally adopted children. In the Ukraine, she grew to appreciate the vulnerability of being in another country without the tools to function independently. In Concord, NH she has befriended refugees and taught English as a volunteer through Second Start. She holds each story with value. Carolyn is willing to learn about ways we all can bridge cultures to benefit all. She brings to the board the organization skills and motivation to see projects through and enjoys the chance to work alongside building working friendships for the benefit of ORS for others. Carolyn and her husband reside in Concord, NH. She enjoyed a successful 9-year elementary teaching career, was home with her 2 (now young adult) children for 9 years, and has been working as a Special Education Advocate from 2012 to the present.
Leslie and her husband own and operate Van Berkum Nursery in Deerfield, New Hampshire. She holds a BA in Music/English, and is currently working on her Masters Degree in Ethics and Public Policy. Leslie has been volunteering with Ascentria Care Alliance since 2012, and that’s where she met Clement Kigugu and learned about Overcomers. She started volunteering with Overcomers and then joined the board soon after. Leslie was named Deerfield Volunteer of the Year in 2008, and a recipient of the Spirit of NH Award in 2014 and 2015.
Rex joined the Overcomers board in 2017 after travelling to Rwanda with Clement. They visited local people in their rural homes, listened to their stories, shared meals together, worshipped together, and explored their culture. Rex was moved by incredible sense of reconciliation just 25 years after the genocide they lived through. This experience provided Rex with insights that inspired him to help Clement and the Overcomers organization.
Rex has a Bachelor’s degree with a major in Business Administration and has worked for 30 years in various leadership roles with Praxair, Inc. He has been a self-employed business consultant for 15 years, working with leaders to find ways to improve safety cultures in their places of business. Rex also served two years in the US Army in a military intelligence unit at Fort Polk, LA and has served as an elder in two different churches.
Rex currently resides in Florida with his wife, Sharon.
Erik Irakiza came to the US as a refugee from Congo DRC in 2013. He is a case manager for Building Community in New Hampshire (BCNH) in Manchester. Previously, Erik worked for Velcro Companies in Manchester. Erik joined the Overcomers board of directors to help the organization achieve their goals.
Jackie Agasaro is a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and spent years in a refugee camp before coming to the U.S. She works as a plant propagator at Van Berkum Nursery and also at DS Cole. Jackie's passion is helping others; she started an African women's group to welcome and help other women with challenges that they faced in resettling in the U.S. Helping her community is also her motivation for joining the board at Overcomers Refugee Services.
Ghana is originally from Bhutan. In 1992, his family left Bhutan for the refugee camp in Nepal, where they stayed for 18 years. Ghana was resettled to the U.S. in 2009. He lives in Concord with his wife, Nirmala, and two children.
Ghana joined the board of Overcomers in early 2020 to support the expansion of services to the Bhutanese community.
Ghana attended and graduated high school in the refugee camp, and studied mathematics at Damak Multiple Campus and North Bengal University. He currently works at Concord High School as an ELL (English Language Learner) teacher where he works with New American students on math and science and teaches a citizenship class for adults. Ghana’s previous work includes Education Coordinator for BCNH (Building Community in NH), professional tutor at NHTI, and Garden Manager for Sycamore Community Garden.
In 2014, Ghana was named one of Concord’s “Most Fascinating Individuals” by Concord TV. He is also one of the lead organizers of the Concord Multicultural Festival and a lifelong board member of the International Nepali Literary Society of NH.
As an organization that serves refugees, we are committed to maintaining a board with more than half of its directors who are originally from the refugee populations that Overcomers serves. It is important for our board of directors to model the connection and interaction that we envision between refugees and the New Hampshire communities that have welcomed them.
The Board of Overcomers Refugee Services is dedicated to the organization’s mission and vision. Those of us who are established citizens of New Hampshire are proud that our community has offered new homes to fellow human beings torn from their old life by trauma. We want to share our community with our new members and we want to learn more about their cultures.
Our volunteers support our clients and our mission in many ways. From providing transportation to appointments, mentoring families and teaching English, to administrative tasks and help with fundraising, we couldn't do what we do without the enthusiastic support of our volunteers.
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