Engage Newcastle has, as one of its aims, the desire to truly represent the community which is encompassed by the University’s footprint. With this in mind, the UoN community engagement office commissioned Conor Ashleigh to spend two weeks photographing our communities. The result was Engaging Newcastle – an exhibition of this work which was displayed at the John Paynter Gallery, The Lock-Up in August.
Engage Newcastle provides an opportunity for us to present the stories behind some of these images – in Conor’s words.
“Jerome Rugaruza welcomed me into his house with a huge smile that revealed his pearly whites. As I sat down in the living room and listened to Jerome speak in his soft voice my eyes couldn’t help but take in his excited children bouncing around the room.
Jerome is originally from the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. After seeking refuge in Kenya he was approved for resettlement in Australia in 2009. Finally, in August last year, Jerome’s dream came true when his family finally joined him. Jerome’s wife Imaculee Nyirahoza and four children, eldest son Bonfils, eldest daughter Joy, youngest daughter Jessica and youngest boy Musaking, have all settled quickly into life in Australia.
Jerome is currently enrolled at Newcastle University studying a Bachelor of Social Science. He has also been active in starting the Africa Australia Alliance for Peace and Reconciliation (AAAPR) with other Novocastrians. After most recently talking with Jerome he informed me that his wife Imaculee gave birth to a fifth child Joshua who was born on 18th July 2012.”