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
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.