Meet Claudine Humure: The Yoky Matsuoka of Africa

Africa! Meet Claudine Humure-Rwanda genocide survivor that lost her parents to the attack, lost her leg from cancer, now building prosthetics for amputees in developing (Africa) countries and hopes to have a prosthetic clinic in Rwanda.  

Lately, I've been trying to get my hands on Rwanda genocide history. Truly, I've had a glimpse of the story. But I haven't been paying deliberate attention to it. However, thanks to the #AmplifyRwanda goddess who have been feeding my eyes and getting my medulla oblongata informed about the genocide, its history, and survivors. It's been 23 years now, but the eyesore incident still remains fresh in the minds of Rwanda and her people.

As per the genocide attack, Claudine Humure is a lady who I fondly call the Yoky Matsuoka of Africa. Well! Claudine didn't have a parent to choose for her a career path. But she forged ahead. Believed in her potentials and keeps dreaming (big) dreams. She attended Sonrise School in Rwanda for her primary and part of her secondary education. She later moved to the U.S.  for the rest of her education.  There isn't much difference in Claudine andYoky. 

The only difference will be that they both come from a different country. Yoky is a Japanese and Claudine is a Rwandan. While reading the book mastery authored by Robert Greene. Yoky's story actually got me glued to my seat and made me googled more about her. But, need I say, Wikipedia didn't profile her life the way it was originally profiled in the book. Yoky's educational background was a forwarded plan drawn by her parents. For other children living in Japan it may have been soothing to have their lives directed in such a fashion, but for Yoky it was painful. She craved more out of life than what her parent seems to offer. This made me remember the way Africa parents also choose career part and spouse for their children. Without prior notice.  

Claudine's journey into prosthetic started when she did a senior high school project with a company named Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics. She stated that her time in Next step brought to limelight the different side of prosthesis that she had never seen before as an amputee who used a prosthetic leg on a daily basis. "While at Next Step, I was able to observe how the prosthetists interacted with amputees, how they made prosthetic sockets in their workshop and I was even given a chance to build a below the knee prosthetic socket under supervision. With this amazing experience, I left NextStep inspired". 

The pinnacle of her endeavor was when she was offered a place at the Biomechatronics group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s MediaLab through the MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP) during her second year at Wheaton College. While at MIT, she came up with the idea of designing an adjustable prosthetic socket for above the knee amputees using Autodesk software, Fusion 360, and got Autodesk hooked. 

Claudine didn't rest on her oars. She continues making effort in seeing her dream become a reality. Recently, she got selected as one of the 2017 OZY Genius Award Winners. And will be receiving training, a showcase of her work and $10,000 from OZY- a daily digital magazine founded by Carlos Watson, former CNN and MSNBC anchor. 

Basically, Claudine story further attests to the fact that the rest of the world should be on the look out as Africa is coming in full force to change her narratives. 

Anyway, Claudine explained what her goal means for mother Africa. 

"It means prosperity, a growing economy, a rebirth both for the individual and his/her family and most importantly a chance at a better life. Sadly, many people with disabilities in developing countries are looked down on and considered incapable of accomplishing various important tasks such as attending school or holding jobs at certain organizations. Designing prosthetic limbs for amputees in developing countries is about creating awareness in the society. It is not only about providing the individuals with the independence they deserve, but it is also about healing them and educating the communities in which they live. In many developing countries, people with disabilities are most often discriminated against and are forced to live in isolated areas. With great technology that can allow us to digitally design assistive devices like prosthetic limbs, amputees, and other physically handicapped people will be able to regain their independence which will hopefully help reduce the stigma surrounding disability".

Photo credit: Mark Madeo

Video credit: Auto Desk Education

Note: I reached out to Claudine for clarity and more information but haven't gotten a response at the time of this publication.


More from aKoma