Marguerite Barankitse

Burundi Activist, founder of “Maison Shalom”

In 41 years of humanitarian work and receiving numerous prestigious recognitions, Marguerite Barankitse has not lost an ounce of her energy and determination. Fondly nicknamed "Maman nationale" (National Mother) in Burundi, she is fighting for the protection of children. In 1993, during the conflict between Hutu and Tutsi in Burundi, she saved around twenty children from a massacre she witnessed and founded Maison Shalom, an organization through which she saved the lives of thousands of children. Forced to flee her country in 2015, she continues to advocate for peace and the protection of children. In 2020, along with about a dozen co-accused exiled members of civil society and opponents of President Pierre Nkurunziza's third term, she was tried, among other charges, by the Burundian Supreme Court for involvement or collaboration in the failed coup attempt of May 2015 and was sentenced to life imprisonment.