The 50-year-old Sense and Sensibility actress took Tindyebewa Agaba in after they were introduced at a Christmas party for the Refugee Council six years ago.
"He's such a lovely, enchanting boy so I said, 'Come and spend Christmas with us'." explained the Oscar-winning star of their first meeting.
"And he came for half the day. Slowly, he became a sort of permanent fixture," she added.
At the time he barely spoke English. Yet with the support of Emma and her husband Greg Wise – who have an eight-year-old daughter Gaia - he went on to gain GCSEs and A Levels. This led to a place at Exeter University studying politics.
His father had died of AIDS, while his mother and sister were listed as missing during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Tindy was forced to serve as soldier until he was rescued by charity Care International, who eventually helped him flee to Britain
From September, the 22-year-old will attend London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, to take a Masters Degree in Human Rights Law.