Alain Munyangabe - Refugee Council
January 5, 2011

Alain Munyangabe

It is with a very heavy heart that I have to let you know our colleague Alain Munyangabe suffered a fatal heart attack early on the 25th December.

Alain was originally from Rwanda and came to the UK in 2004.  In his home country he had been a civil servant with the Ministry of Labour and then later worked for the United Nations Tribunal for Rwanda for three years before coming to Britain.  Alain first started working with the Refugee Council in Ipswich in 2006 as the Network Support Worker for the Voluntary Sector Refugee Network, also working part-time towards a Masters degree in Refugee Care, which he gained in 2009.

Alain moved to London and joined the Basis Project as our Training and Development Support Officer in April 2009, and had worked with us ever since. He put on our National Conference in June 2010, and was instrumental in making it a huge success in all areas – from creating a welcoming, warm atmosphere, through to agenda development and scrutiny. This resulted in a highly successful event that we understand will be remembered fondly by many in the sector for a long time.

As a colleague Alain was conscientious, passionate, committed and humble. He drew upon an extraordinary wealth of knowledge and insight in his work everyday which revealed itself both directly and indirectly.  His passion and commitment to refugees and RCOs was so important to him, and informed all he did.

 As a person Alain was a friend to all – wisely advising those around him.  He had a wonderful sense of humour and frequently delighted everyone with his originality. His love of people shone through as he struck up conversations around controversial areas with everyone he met, on for example the tube. He won the hearts of people wherever he went.

 We will miss him more than words can say. I like to think he would be dismissive of our sadness and tell us to make the most of every day, knowing that he is in a better place. 

Our concern going forward is to do what we think Alain would want us to do: that is to support his family. We will try not to dwell on our personal sadness, but to do all we can to make sure his family are supported in their grief. We are still exploring ideas on how we might support his widow and son and if you have any ideas, please let us know. We do not yet know when Alain’s funeral will be, but we will make sure further information is posted here. 

 I’m so sorry to have to share this very sad news. We are all still very shocked and grief-stricken. 

 Please leave your tributes to Alain below. We would love to hear your memories, your stories, anything you would like to share. And of course please contact us if you would like to talk to one of us.

Basis Project Manager, Emily Kippax

Update: Another blog with tributes to Alain has been set up here

Update (12 Jan 2010): In the comments below, Patricia Garcia Lichst writes: “Thanks for the lovely times we had together and for sharing your loving thoughts about your wife and your son. Alain was so proud of Claudine’s craft initiatives.” Here’s an example of something made by Claudine.


Update: Alain’s funeral will take place in London on Friday 18th February.

Church service
9:30am- 10:30am
St Boniface Roman Catholic Church, 185 Mitcham Road, Tooting, London, SW17 9PG

Funeral ceremony
11:00am- 12:00pm
Location: Lambeth Cemetery in Tooting, Blackshaw Road, Tooting, London, SW17 0BY

The Funeral Reception
13:00pm- 16:00pm
At The Brix at St Matthews, St Matthews Church, Brixton Hill, SW2 1JF