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Building Peace

A survivor of civil war in central Africa brings rival youth together to construct homes and a new future.

Author Michael Shapiro Photography José Mandojana


Image – José Mandojana

NAME • PROSPER NDABISHURIYE, 53

MISSION • To build houses in war-torn Burundi and bring youth from the rival Hutu and Tutsi tribes together. Since its inception in 1994, the nonprofit Youth in Reconstruction of a World in Destruction (YRWD, or JRMD in French, one of Burundi’s primary languages) has erected 3,167 homes, Ndabishuriye says, serving some 25,000 people throughout Burundi, where a civil war in the 1990s and 2000s between Hutus and Tutsis led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and left countless civilians homeless. Ndabishuriye sees an opportunity not only to provide shelter but also to heal the rift by having youth from both tribes work together to rebuild their country. The project has expanded to construct schools, latrines and an orphanage for 160 kids, as well as provide mattresses and a microcredit program.

MOTIVATION • “Peace education is not possible among families who do not have a home,” Ndabishuriye says. “That’s why we’re building homes for the survivors of the war and making communities. We’re building unity and peace.”

For more information, visit www.jrmd.org.

19 Responses to “Building Peace”

  1. Susan Partnow Says:
    July 1st, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Prosper is one of my heroes: his commitment to helping his people is inspiring and unstoppable. He deserves our support!

  2. Steve Haas Says:
    July 1st, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Delighted to see this. Prosper is the real deal! May his work amongst the displaced and hurting continue!

  3. Kathy Y. Hazen Says:
    July 3rd, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Thank you Prosper for all you have done. Prosper is right. It is difficult anywhere in the world to have true peace in the midst of poverty and violence. We must all work together as a world community and treat each other as brothers and sisters.

  4. Dick Jordan Says:
    July 3rd, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Michael Shapiro is an extraordinarily talent writer and an expert if bring out the character of those he interviews. Prosper sounds like an extraordinary person. It’s a pity that we don’t have a more in-depth profile of him done by Michael.

  5. Naomi Kamau Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 1:00 am

    Thank you for the good work your are doing in Burundi. You are helping the youths to win a victory for humanity. Spread the good will to other parts of Africa. Here in Kenya you are welcome and personally i am ready to support you in anyway i can. Bravo!!!

  6. Prosper Ndabishuriye Says:
    July 14th, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I am very grateful to Michael Shapiro for writing this article, about the work that JRMD and many other partners in USA and Europe together have been able to accomplish for the last 15 years. Much thanks to United Hemispheres Magazine for publishing this article and make it available to millions of people who will be reading this article during this month of July 2010.

  7. Felicia Everidge Says:
    July 14th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Prosper is so awesome to see and hear of your work! I know God will bless you and the youth immesely. Kudos to you!!!

  8. Mike Seymour Says:
    July 14th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Having been to Burundi and worked with Prosper over three trips,his work is a shining example of the kind of benefit to ordinary people that only a small, on-the-ground NGO can do in places like Africa & Asia.

  9. Paul Yanosy Says:
    July 14th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Prosper’s is a compelling, generous and heroic life. Thanks to Hemisphere for publishing such an inspiring profile of a worthy individual, and the good work being done in Burundi. Keep it up!

  10. Joanna Clark Says:
    July 14th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    A personal friend and partner in Prosper’s endeavor, I’ve seen the authenticity and promising results of the efforts from himself and his team! I’ve worked with hundreds of youth in the states that have taken the initiative to help Burundi – Prosper is not only changing the mentality of the youth in Burundi, but the youth in the U.S. as well.There is something truly unique about what is happening in Burundi and I hope it spreads to the rest of Africa in years to come!

  11. Ellie Kierson Says:
    July 15th, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Having met and spent time with Prosper, I can say that he is a man of Peace. His work is inspiring and necessary in World filled with madness. We have supported his efforts to not only rebuild Burundi but his efforts to train people in building peaceful and coexistent relationships. It is worth the effort to find out more about this worthy cause.

  12. Maureen Odero Says:
    July 16th, 2010 at 3:49 am

    Winners know that there will be no lasting peace on earth until there’s a peace of bread in every mouth.They also know that true immortality for the human race is when a caring,sharing person helps even one other individuals to live a better life,Prosper you are truly a winner.

  13. David Baraza Says:
    July 16th, 2010 at 6:27 am

    I have been in Burundi and witnessed the Work that Prosper has been doing. I participated one day in a youth peace forum and felt so energized. The zeal and love for humanity to stay in peace growing together in love and harmony is Prosper’s engine. Many people in Burundi are hopeful today because Prosper took an initiative. In his own way,as he always says ”he is giving back to the society”. I am happy this far he has come. Many blessings!!

  14. Jutta Breitling Says:
    July 18th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I had the privilege to meet Prosper on several occasions; with his exceptional dedication, stamina and unshakable believe in the good of mankind he has inspired many people throughout the years to help re-built his country. He is certainly an exceptional man. Congratulations on all the good work you have done. Thank you for bringing hope where it seems hopeless and best wishes for your future work.

  15. Susan Anderson Says:
    July 18th, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Thank you for letting people know about the wonderful work Prosper is doing. He is an example to the world of a loving, unselfish and persistent way to bring peace to a community. I know he is making a significant contribution to his whole country in the work he is doing.

  16. B J STEPHENSON Says:
    July 18th, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Proper Ndabishuriye does more than build houses; he builds bridges. My students, ages 10-14, have been making friends with students in Burundi and learning about another part of their world for the the past 7 years through letter writing and visiting with Prosper here in Edmonds, WA. They are overjoyed every year to present a check to Prosper to build another home or roof an orphanage in Burundi, but most of all they look forward to singing with Prosper when he delivers these long-awaited letters to our school.

  17. Keith Schultz Says:
    July 19th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Prosper is is a visionary whose success is measured through the happiness of others. We in the richer countries are so insulated from these “others”. Here lies the opportunity to participate in the building of lasting peace.

  18. Koriciza Eddy Says:
    July 27th, 2010 at 12:22 am

    Prosper has done much for so many,he is a hero, and a father. I am sure that so many people are thankful. Burundi needs you,Africa needs you.

  19. John Enga Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    My wife and I have been on the sites and worked with prosper’s team in Burundi and I can only say the he is a blessing to his country and people.

    During our six weeks in Burundi, I laid brick for the school and orphanage and Justice helped patients with Eye issues at a local clinic. I will never be able to express my thanks for the hospitality and warmth shown to us by Prosper his family during our stay. I dream of returning for the opening ceremony of the school in Cibitoke. Thank you Prosper!

    Prosper

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