Our founder's story

Alphonsine Anderson’s personal story of strength and determination gave birth to Rising Above the Storms (RAS). Born and raised in Rwanda, her life was forever altered when the genocide against the Tutsi erupted when she turned 13. Tragically, she lost her parents and two siblings during this horrific event.

Rebuilding her life

Fueled by an unyielding spirit and a thirst for knowledge, Alphonsine pursued education as a means to rebuild her life. Through unwavering dedication and hard work, she secured full scholarships for college in Rwanda and later pursued graduate school in the United States. Driven by her dreams and aspirations, Alphonsine made the bold decision to move to the US for graduate studies. Her journey continued as she successfully completed her education and secured a position at Cisco, a prestigious technology company, marking a significant milestone in her professional path and financial stability.

During her journey, Alphonsine encountered two Rwandan orphans at different times who had dropped out of school, Marc and Gilbert. Balancing the responsibilities of raising herself and caring for five children while navigating life and education, Alphonsine realized the power of collective impact. This realization became the catalyst for the creation of RAS. Alphonsine’s 3 siblings all graduated college, along with Marc and gilbert. Some of them have even gone on to pursue graduate studies, and they are now leading independent and fulfilling lives, building successful careers in their respective fields.

Launching rising above the storms

Alphonsine launched Rising Above the Storms (RAS) with the aim of providing hope and support to individuals who have faced similar adversities. Through RAS, she strives to empower vulnerable children and offer them a brighter future.

Alphonsine’s story stands as a testament to resilience, determination, and compassion. Despite enduring unimaginable loss, she not only rebuilt her own life but also dedicated herself to uplifting others. Her journey from surviving the genocide to achieving academic and professional success, and ultimately founding RAS, serves as an inspiration to all. It demonstrates the incredible strength of the human spirit and the transformative power of creating positive change in the world. For more information on her personal story, please visit her website: Beauty for Ashes