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Umutoni Walters

Volunteer Program Director, Light of Hope
Bukavu Center
Synergy of Congolese Women's Associations

In 2017 Rachel founded a program called Light of Hope, to provide school fees, supplies and uniforms for orphaned children in the DRC.  Hero Women Rising/SAFECO administers the program throughout the year in her absence. She travels to DRC at her own expense once a year to meet face to face with the staff and the children enrolled in the program, along with their foster families.  She pays for their school fees and related needs through funds raised for the program by her church, Cedar Springs, in Albuquerque, NM.


Rachel was born and grew up in eastern DRC.  In 2014, she moved to the United States, where she finished high school and is now attending the University of New Mexico.  She will graduate May 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Designation in Honors. In August, she will begin studies for her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and plans to continue her PsyD in Clinical Psychology, with a specialization of Multicultural Research and Counseling. She hopes to go back to DRC when she completes her education, to work there in the greatly under-served sector of mental health.


She also works with autistic children as a Registered Behavioral Technician.  In her free time, she volunteers with refugee families in New Mexico, helping them adapt to a new system by teaching them English, how to navigate the system, and more.

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