Burundi: Marie Rose Cimpaye

Hagukora ikibi wogikorerwa – It is better for one to suffer than to make someone else suffer.

— Marie Rose Cimpaye

Marie Rose Cimpaye, of the Tutsi ethinic group, was born in 1961 in Karuzi, Burundi. She enjoyed the good relations among her neighbors, until they fled for their lives in 1993. That shocked her. She how has to strive to regain the lost social environment. With her friend and neighbor she founded a women’s association, Habamahoro, meaning "Let there be peace".

When 1993 her neighbors fled for their lives, Marie Rose Cimpaye decided to act to create a better life for all. She and her friend and neighbor, Colette Ndaruaniye, began to risk their lives trying to reconcile their communities by visiting one another. However, they were tortured, tied up by their respective communities for their initiatives. This did not deter them: Habamahoro brings together women from both Hutu and Tutsi communities. Paradoxically, Marie Rose admits that the hostility manifested by the people of her own ethnic group, gives her energy to go on. She is also encouraged by the warm welcome she receives from those who are not from her ethnic group. Her vision of the future is to regain the trust and the good coexistence that their ancestors once knew and lived with. The reality however is one full of fear and lack of confidence among people, which makes life miserable among residents and the displaced people. Moreover, injustice is prevalent because the guilty are not punished for their crimes. Although Marie Rose did not have an official network, she and Colette Ndaruaniye, together with their 15-member women’s group, were trained in Peaceful Conflict Resolution by Accord Burundi.