Portrait of Lola Brigitte, ©Franco Pagetti, 2023

In the vibrant heart of Belgrade, Lola Brigitte Ingabire, a Burundian young woman with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work and Community Development, is carving a new path for herself. Lola's journey is not just about migration; it is a testimony of a transformative power of resilience, inclusion, and the unbreakable strength of women. As a model in the "Wearin'it Together!" campaign and exhibition, Lola’s unique story is encouraging women on the move to dare speak up and express themselves, reminding them that their voice matter wherever they are.

Much of Lola's life in Burundi was dedicated to social work and community development. Working as a communication counselor at the Ministry for Public Service, she found fulfillment in counseling and helping people. In 2022, Lola made a life-altering decision to seek asylum in Serbia. This leap of faith opened doors to new opportunities and a sense of belonging.

Reflecting on her life in Serbia, Lola says that she feels at home and very much included, emphasizing the warm welcome she has received from the start: "I don't feel discriminated; people are so welcoming. I've never felt any racism or discrimination in Belgrade," she shares. This sense of inclusion stands in stark contrast to the challenges Lola faced back in Burundi, where she felt the harsh effects of gender-based violence.

In the bustling capital of Serbia, Lola has found a new purpose. Working two jobs, as an advocacy group and cultural mediation member at ATINA and as a Customer Care Representative for NCR Atleos company, Lola is wholeheartedly embracing the opportunities Serbia has offered her. Despite the achievements so far, she aspires to continue her education, harboring dreams of obtaining a Master’s Degree in Social Work or Communication.

Lola's involvement in the "Wearin'it Together! A Journey of Inclusion through Fashion" campaign has been a transformative experience not only for her, but hopefully for many other women on the move. Through this creative initiative that celebrates individuality and defies labels, Lola feels seen and valued as a woman. The exhibition and campaign by Franco Pagetti and No Nation Fashion, powered by IOM, inspire inclusion of migrants and boldly challenge the narratives rooted around migration. 

Lola's story compliments all the remarkable stories of the extraordinary strength, dreams, and achievements of the women on the move, shared today on the International Women’s Day. Her resilience, dedication to social work, community development, counseling and helping others, while not giving up the dream to further pursue education, embody the strength that countless women on the move carry within themselves. Lola's journey is yet another ray of hope, challenging preconceptions and illuminating the way for more inclusive societies.

In Lola's words, "I would like to advise the women on the move like me to dare speak up and express themselves because they exist and they matter wherever they are." Lola Brigitte Ingabire is not just a woman on the move; she is a creative force, a symbol of strength and potential within every woman who embarks on a journey towards inclusion, equality, and dreams.

After its premiere in Sarajevo in December 2023, the exhibition “Wearin’it together”, featuring Lola Brigitte’ story and many others, opens in Belgrade from March 15th to March 30th.


For more information, please contact:
François LHOUMEAU, Sub-regional Communications Officer for the Western Balkans, frlhoumeau@iom.int
Aleksandra DIMIĆ, Communications Officer, IOM Serbia, adimic@iom.int

SDG 5 - Gender Equality