Meet the Founder

Picture of Msenwa Atanda holding the Bible as he ministered to widows and vulnerable women in Abeka, DR Congo. 

The Msenwa Foundation was born out of the ministry of Grandpa Msenwa Atanda, who dedicated his life to caring for and ministering to widows/vulnerable women and orphans in DR Congo and in Nyarugusu refugee camp (Kigoma, Tanzania). Before his death in 2005 in Nyarugusu refugee camp, he entrusted this vision to his grandson, Msenwa Oliver Mweneake. Eleven years later, this vision is rebirthed through The Msenwa Foundation. The Msenwa Foundation is founded upon respect for the people and rich cultures of the African continent. We are committed to ensuring that our programs directly reflect the priorities and needs that local children, youth and widows voice. Furthermore, the children, youth and widows that we serve are an integral part of our decision-making.

Msenwa Oliver Mweneake is a Canadian of Congolese origin who while 15-year-old he witnessed the killing of his people in the 1996-1997 Congolese war. Msenwa spent 15 years of his life as a refugee in Tanzania (Nyarugusu Camp), Nairobi Kenya and Burundi before being given a chance to immigrate to Canada in 2011. From fleeing war to working towards healing his homeland to finding new life in Canada, Msenwa is now inspiring hope and possibilities to countless Congolese and fellow African. A war survivor and refugee for many years himself, he knows what it means to go hungry for days and having someone invest in you. He reflects on the countless times he was without medical care, food, shoes, shelter, family, and stability, but he holds no bitterness from these experiences.  He now longs for victims to regain hope just as others restored mine. He welcomes you to join him on this journey of changing lives.

Through perseverance and determination, after years as a refugee, he emerged as a social worker who uses his lived experience to empower others to become resilient leaders. He is a registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Services Workers. He holds a master’s degree in Leadership from PACU in Kenya and a master of Social Work from the University of Waterloo, Canada.  He has practiced social work in Africa and Canada as a clinical social worker in mental health and child welfare. He is interested in how policies affect macro social work, migration, diversity, inclusion and equity.

He is the author of Still With Us: Msenwa’s Untold Story of War, Resilience and Hope. His undergraduate education (in Burundi) and master’s degree (in Kenya) were all paid by ordinary people who chose to make a difference in my life. Without their love and financial support, he would not have been able to complete my university education.