Angel of Burundi

Today’s story is about beautiful Burundi woman Marguerite Barankitse.

She has been compared to great people like Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. She is fondly called “Angel of Burundi” back home.

Marguerite’s journey began back in 1993 when tensions had grown between two major ethnic groups called the Hutus and the Tutsis. During this tension Maggie, a Tutsi, fled and sought safety at the house of her archbishop, she tried protecting her seven children as well as 72 other friends and their children who were all Hutu’s. unfortunately, the building they hid ta were invaded by Tutsi rebels.

Maggie was tied to a chair and stripped naked, they didn’t kill her because she was a Tutsi but right there they murdered all 72 Hutus. After the murder, the head of her best friend was thrown on her lap. Marguerite somehow succeeded in paying a small ransom to save the lives of 25 of her friend’s children who alive, along with seven children, four Hutu and three Tutsi who she was already treating as her own, she sought out a means for them all to survive. The number of children in her care continued to increase and soon she has a total of 200 orphaned children to care for. She resorted to begging around for food and land for they all to survive. After a while she was able to successfully begin a home for kids called the Maison Shalom known as the House of Peace in Ruyigi, a province in Burundi.

Marguertite Batankitse with the Children of Maison Shalom

Now Maison Shalom has grown from just one home to a large compound with over three thousand homes including schools, hospitals, farms and even a bank. It has provided a loving and safe home to over twenty thousand children.

Maggie story should inspire us to want to help in whatever way we can.

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching and lifting people up” – John Holmes