By Desange Kuenihira

My Rating: 3 Stars

Goodreads Rating: 3.67

Publication Date: September 27th, 2022

Genre: Memoir

Format Read: Ebook

Goodreads Summary: Sometimes, it takes a journey to find your voice.

As a young girl, Desange Kuenihira was told repeatedly that she was meaningless. An arranged marriage and motherhood before twenty—guaranteeing a life in poverty—were all she was told to expect. But Desange knew she had more inside her, and that education was the key to unlocking her potential.

In Undefeated Woman, Desange Kuenihira takes us on the challenging journey of her childhood. She recalls fleeing with her siblings from the civil war raging in Congo and the daily struggle of life in a refugee camp in Uganda, where she suffered many forms of abuse. She relates her journey to America, the culture clash of living with American foster families, and her quest for her education and the ability to control her own life. Now a college graduate and determined to pay forward the kindness of those that helped her through, Desange has launched the nonprofit UnDEfeated to empower women and girls in Uganda.

Desange’s inspirational story shows us all how we can overcome any odds through education, determined perseverance, and the kindness of caring people.

Find the book: Goodreads | unDEfeated Website

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


Undefeated Woman is Desange Kuenihira’s first person memoir that tells the story of her life from childhood through present day. Kuenihira’s family fled Congo when she was just a baby, and lived most of her childhood in a refugee camp in Uganda before finally making it to the United States. Her life was filled with countless trials and difficulties, and all of these combined turned her into the person that she is today.

What sets this book apart from other refugee stories is its explicit focus on the burdens that women and girls carry throughout their lives. Kuenihira rebelled at the idea that she was a meaningless woman, but still, that was the message that was instilled in her day in and day out. Besides just the expected struggles of being a refugee both in Uganda and the US, Kuenihira and the women around her were also being told that they didn’t matter at every turn.

Part of the reason that I was so excited to review this book is that Kuenihira (who is only in her early 20s) started a nonprofit based on her experiences to help other people going through the same thing. UnDEfeated champions education and resources for young people and single mothers who are doing their best to make ends meet in Uganda. We are unfortunately living in a world where too often women are treated as second class citizens, both in America and abroad, and it’s inspiring to see someone fighting to be the change they want to see.

This book is an empowering story of staying strong despite the circumstances, the power of education, and the way that support systems can mold and change as we grow.