Maggy Barankitse formed Maison Shalom, or House of Peace, in 1993 as a safe haven for children and orphans, including children soldiers, who have survived civil unrest and violence in the war-torn country of Burundi. Located in central Africa, Burundi has a long history of ethnic strife between the Tutsis and Hutus. Only recently did Burundi emerge from more than 12 years of civil war, leaving 300,000 dead. Since its beginning, Maison Shalom has grown into a multi/functional service agency including a hospital that has helped in the healing and support of 30,000 young people and families. Maison Shalom is centered on education, health, vocational training and reconciliation and strives to change the lives of children to better the lives of all Burundians.
Maggy Barankitse has been recognized with numerous awards for her work towards peace, including:
* 1998 Medaille de defenseur des droits de l’homme attribute par le gouvernement francais le cadre des ceremonies de la celebration du 50me anniversaire de la declaration universelle des droits de l’homme. To date, ten people have received this honor including the Dali-Lama.
* 2009 Medaille de chavalier de la legion d’honneur (France).
* 2009 Opus Prize (USA)
Legacy® expresses a special thanks to Shona Wright, Principal of the Middle School of the International School of Geneva, for arranging this interview. Highlights edited by Grade 6 student, Alexander Junod, were used in the Humanities classes of Year 8 students.