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Johana Amani, who was born on International Women's Day, is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She and her younger sister, Lisa, had a tumultuous childhood after their mother, a professional with degrees in Business and French, was forced to give up custody of her girls after her divorce.Johana was just 3 years old. For years, she faced neglect, hunger, and physical and sexual abuse from male relatives.
Years later, her mother helped Johana and her younger sister flee to Rwanda and then Kenya, where they still lived in fear of their lives. While in the refugee camp, Johana and her sister learned English and attended school. The family received clearance to come to the United States in 2016.
Johana quickly became an advocate for other African students who had a language barrier. Her leadership and easy brilliance also got the attention of her teachers and counselors who encouraged her to graduate a year early. Johana's 3.8 GPA led to her receiving multiple academic scholarships to pay for college.