Marguerite Barankitse – A Mother To 30,000 Children

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Forgive them, they do not know what they do. – Luke 23:34
There’s so much bad news from around the world everyday that we need a daily dose of something good to restore our faith in humanity. The life of Marguerite Barankitse is one such example which not only restores our faith but also inspire us to stand up for those whose rights are abused and are in most need of our support.

Marguerite (“Maggie”) Barankitse is the founder of Maison Shalom, a complex of schools, hospitals, and a network of care extending throughout Burundi, and has focused on children’s welfare and rights while challenging ethnic discrimination.

“I don’t want to hate. I want to believe in human beings. For me, even criminals, they are still my brothers, and I will continue to show them the light”, says Marguerite Barankitse.


When Burundi’s terrible civil war erupted in 1993, Barankitse tried to hide 72 of her neighbors to keep them safe from persecution. They were discovered and executed, whilst Barankitse was forced to watch.

Following this gruesome incident, she started Maison Shalom in eastern Burundi, to save and care for children and refugees. She has saved roughly 30,000 children and in 2008, she opened a hospital which has treated more than 80,000 patients to date.

I want the new generation, Hutu and Tutsi together, who will break this cycle of violence. I will raise them in dignity, and love. When you have conviction, nobody can stop you. I began with few children, 25 children who survived the massacres in the bishops house, and after that I took children during 10 years in the civil war,” she added, recalling some of the earliest violent incidents she witnessed.


Maggie was awarded the inaugural international humanitarian Aurora Prize in Armenia and received a $1.1m cheque during a ceremony in Yerevan in conjunction with commemorations for the Armenian genocide.
Amidst all the suffering and the atrocities she witnessed, she never gave up hope in believing in humanity, and insisted that forgiveness is always possible. She is teaching the world that regardless of all the darkness around us, we need to open our eyes to see the beauty in everything and everyone, so that we can rise above ourselves and love every atom in the universe equally.

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