“Maison Shalom” means “house of peace.” Today, it is less an institution than a place of passage for thousands of Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa children to build themselves a future and to help build their nation.
The very first children taken in by Maggy are today participating actively in Maison Shalom’s programs. They have become, in turn, messengers of peace, forgiveness, and hope. This virtuous circle, born of Maggy’s efforts, has helped neutralize the factors of conflict from within.
Maggy’s work is not limited to the 650,000 war orphans. She also helps children whose parents have died of AIDS (230,000 in Burundi) and those individuals rendered vulnerable by the conflict. Rape victims are cared for and offered support, former women rebels and former massacrers learn to reintegrate society, child soldiers receive psychological counseling and learn a trade.
Maggy is also a mediator of peace. At the request of the High Commission for Refugees, she travels to villages throughout Burundi to pursue reconciliation between Hutu and Tutsi.
Marguerite Barankitse has succeeded in creating a new generation of young citizens who do not define themselves as Hutu or Tutsi or Twa but “Hutsitwa” placing their humanity above all genealogy and all hatred.