Marguerite Barankitse

Founder of Maison Shalom
Speaker, March 8th 2017

“Before I am a Tutsi, I am a Christian” Marguerite remembers telling the mob. “I will not allow you to kill those people.”

On October 12, 1993, two days after her Tutsi family was murdered by Hutus in Burundi, Marguerite Barankitse stood in front of a house of Hutus to stop a mob of local Tutsis from taking revenge. “Before I am a Tutsi, I am a Christian” Marguerite remembers telling the mob. “I will not allow you to kill those people.”

That day, Maggy realized that her mission would be to fight the violence ravaging her country by giving the children who had been orphaned by the civil war, and the 20,000 who would follow an alternative to hate.  She founded Maison Shalom to provide a haven for orphaned and needy children of all ethnic backgrounds.  It seeks to provide for the reintegration of these children by providing services in health, education, culture, justice and income-generation.

She has received numerous awards for her work including the 2016 Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity and the Prize for Conflict Prevention from the hands of Kofi Annan. When conflict returned to Burundi in 2015, Maggy spoke out for the president of her country to be tried by the International Criminal Court. For this she was forced to flee to neighboring Rwanda where she currently resides and continues to run Maison Shalom. ​

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