Burundi. A country ravaged by decades of intermittent civil wars that have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and forced many into exile. Under both Tutsi and Hutu governments, this central African nation has known very little peace and even less prosperity since gaining independence in 1962.
And yet… out of the darkness of her troubles shines a light, a glimmer of hope.
Her name is Marguerite Barankitse, better known as Maggy, the ‘Angel of Burundi’…
She is a Burundian humanitarian who decided to take care of both Hutu and Tutsi orphans after personally witnessing the brutal murder of her friends during the 1993 Civil War. At the time of those tragic events, she worked as a secretary at the Diocese of Ruyigi in the Gitega Province. Refusing to stay silent in the face of injustice, she reported the killers to the Ruyigi Police and testified in court.
Sadly, for many in Burundi whose views only revolve along ethnic lines, her actions and rejection of all forms of discrimination were considered a betrayal. It didn’t stop her. Not the insults. Not the stones. Not the death threats.
She created a humanitarian organization ‘Maison Shalom’ to build on the 25 orphans she rescued in 1993 in order to help more orphans of war, Aids and poverty. She also turned her focus on rescuing street kids.
In May of 1994, with the help of friends and the Catholic Church, she gave Maison Shalom a permanent home by converting an old abandoned school into her base of operations.
Forced into exile in 2015, Maggy continues her humanitarian work through the Rwandan chapter of Maison Shalom. In her 24 years of humanitarian work, the ‘Angel of Burundi’ has helped tens of thousands of children and shows no signs of slowing down.
Right Your Legacy, Maggy!