The change maker: Marguerite Barankitse

by Gretta-olivia on April 19, 2016 - 3:11am

  The change maker: Editorial

Marguerite Barankitse born in 1957 in Burundi, more specifically, in the Province of Ruyigi; in the east side of the country. She is recognized as the national mother and Burundians call her Maggy. In Burundi there are three ethnic tribes of Hutus, Tutsis and Twas.[1] Marguerite is Tutsi . However, she does not reflect herself as a Tutsi, but as a regular person, simply a Burundian. She lost her father when she was only 5 years old and grew up with her brother and mother. Maggy became a teacher because she wanted to teach students the value of compassion. She battled the discrimination which reigned in the establishment between the two main ethnicities: Hutu and Tutsi. Marguerite got fired off her school because she helped a girl whose family had thrown out of their house because she had been raped.[2] She is indeed a woman with a big heart and a lot of compassion. Maggy received a scholarship in Suisse and have studied catholic religion for 3 years. After her studies, she went back in Burundi where she taught religion for a while, before the removal of that course. She then became the secretary of the diocese in Ruyigi.[3]  Furthermore, when Burundi was brought in a rough civil war between Hutus and Tutsis, in 1993, Barankitse adopted more than five orphans kids from both ethnic groups. During the war, she brought her kids to her friends Hutus’ centers and told them, if Tutsis come here I will protect all the Hutus and if it is the other way, you will protect us, the Tutsis. Unfortunately, when mass people of the ethnic group of Tutsis came at that center, they considered her as a betrayer. They could not understand how she wanted to protect Hutus people, as her family had been killed by Hutus. She kept on telling them that those who killed her family where individuals and not a race. They stripped and tied her to a chair and forced her to watch while they were killing her Hutu’s friends and adopted children[4]. Her vocation was born from that moment on. Her ultimate goal since then is to educate a new generation of Burundians who loves each other without ethnic barriers. Hence, she recuperated more and more war orphan and even created a nongovernmental organisation called the house of shalom,  which means the house of peace.[5]  From the time of the horrible disaster in 1993 (Similar to the Tutsis genocide of Rwanda) , Maggy and her team have saved and educated over than 20 000 kids. Also, they have formed a city of the angel which consists of recuperating children from all backgrounds, and her association is a part of it. In addition, 130 angels home have been generated in diverse region of Burundi.[6] Children who have been helped by her are now giving back and started angel’s homes. Let’s highlight that the Burundian Civil War continued until 2005, and the estimated death toll stands at 300,000 killed.[7]Marguerite is an amazing woman who have received various awards from everywhere in the world such as the prize for the rights of man, the Nobel prize for children, the prize for solidarity and much more.[8]

Since April 26 2015, Burundi is in a political crisis because of the president Pierre Nkurunziza who wants a third term. The country's constitution stipulates that each elected president is allowed to have only two terms. Unfortunately, Nkurunziza chose, at the end of his second term, to violate the law by forcing a third term amid the disapproval from the majority of the population. Marguerite Barankitse is completely against the third mandate of Pierre Nkurunziza. Its government is killing everyone against him especially in the protesters' neighborhood, where the population is predominantly Tutsi. People are scared that the tragedies of the civil War from 1993 to 2005 repeats itself. Maggy is doing everything to let the world know of the cruel acts Nkurunziza is doing in her country. She will do everything to help her children in Burundi as a mother and to protect her lovely country. She is now in exile and she had been travelling in several countries such as in Canada, specifically in Quebec, Winnipeg and Ottawa. Maggy is letting each person know about the crisis in Burundi, and she is screaming at loud for help.  Maggy and her team have created many centers of house shalom in three countries of the African Great Lake Region :  in Burundi, in Rwanda and in the democratic republic of Congo.[9]


She has been a good mother for the country and we must help and support her. First, we can support by giving a donation to the organization or give a help in their volunteering work. The House Shalom’s REMA hospital had received support from doctors and nurses from Luxembourg these past years. Secondly, the main goal of Maggy is to come in help for children who are the future of tomorrow. In my part, I will contribute in helping a group of women, in Canada, who are gathering clothes, shoes, etc. In order to send it in Rwanda for refugees who had run away from Burundi because of the actual situation. The majority of the refugees are children and women. Thirdly, Barankitse has been nominated as a finalist for the Aurora prize. The aurora prize is an award to honor people who have had a big impact in preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes. The winner will receive $100,000 grant on top of $1m, to devolve to an organisation of their choice.[10] If she won this award, it will benefit more the country as she will use it in her organisation, and thus help more young people that are victims of this crisis.

[1] “Bibliography of marguerite Barankitse, “ african success, accessed April 18, 2016,

[2] “Bibliography of marguerite Barankitse, “ african success, accessed April 18, 2016,

[3]  Sabine Cessou, “Marguerite Barankitse, la maman nationale du Burundi, “ les voix du monde, october 12, 2014, accessed March 18, 2016,

[4] Yves Ininahazwe, “ témoignage poignant de Marguerite Barankitse, “YouTube video, 15 :25, posted sept 4, 2015, accessed March 18, 2016,

[5] “Bibliography of marguerite Barankitse, “ african success, accessed April 18, 2016,


[6] “Bibliography of marguerite Barankitse, “ african success, accessed April 18, 2016,

[7] “Heavy shelling in Burundi capital, “BBC News, April 18,2008, accessed March 18,2016,

[8] “Bibliography of marguerite Barankitse, “ african success, accessed April 18, 2016,


[10] Umberto Bacchi, Burundi : children saviour Maggy Barankitse in line for new $1m humanitarian award, ” international business times, March 2015, 2016, accessed March 18, 2016,



By the way, Marguerite won the Aurora prize. wow..