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Rosamond Carr
Loving Mother of the Children of Imbabazi
1912 - 2006

I cannot speak about Rwanda without also speaking about my friend, Roz Carr, one of Africa's heroines, and mine.

In 1994, the genocide left nearly 400,000 of Rwanda's children orphans. Roz writes in her wonderful autobiography, Land of a Thousand Hills, written with her niece, Ann Howard Halsey, that in August of '94, when she returned to Rwanda and her home Mugongo, and saw the devastation, she wondered, "Was it possible to start over again in a country whose soul had been extinguished? Could I find it in my heart to forgive the desecration of an entire country and its people?

My answers would be found in the enduring beauty of Rwanda's thousand hills, in the quiet courage and effortless faith of Sembagare, and in the faces of the children whose innocence had been so savagely taken away and lost forever."

The Imbabazi Orphanage is Born

And so, in the Fall of '94 with Sembagare and the help of Ann Halsey, and relief organizations from around the world, Roz Carr converted an old building on her own property into a safe haven and the Imbabazi Orphanage was born.

At 82, Roz became a mother for the first time to over one hundred children.

In the ten years that followed, Roz, the children and staff had to move four times because of attacks and destruction by the Hutu Interahamwe. Through it all, the children and the orphanage continued to flourish. The children went to school, attended church on Sunday, and had visiting nurses and doctors...and lost of hugs!

In November of 2005, Imbabazi moved again, but this time it was to go home. A permanent home was built at Mugongo for Imbabazi. Roz and Sembagare, all the children and staff were finally home and Roz had realized her dream.

Roz Carr, Sembagare and the children.Roz Carr was the Recipient of the 2004 Volvo for Life Award

Thousands of miles away, in Times Square, in New York City on April 7th, Rosamond Carr's extraordinary life and contributions were honored. She was the 2004 recipient of the Volvo for Life Award. Ann Halsey, her niece, represented Roz.

On Rwanda, Roz writes, "This country that I love has given me much. Rwanda is my home and it is here that I intend to spend the rest of my days. Its beauty is my inspiration. Its struggles have been my struggles. Its grief has been my deepest sorrow. Its people are my strength, and its children are my greatest joy."

Rosamond Carr grew up in New Jersey and became a fashion illustrator in New York City. She made Rwanda her home in 1949 and lived in this country that she dearly loved for 57 years.

It is with great sadness that I write that Rosamond Carr died on September 29, 2006. Rwanda has lost a great friend. And so have all of us who were privileged to have known her kindness and strength, her generosity and love. My time with Roz Carr and the children of Imbabazi was pure joy. Thank you, Roz. We will never forget you.

Partners In ConservationLearn more about Roz Carr, Imbabazi, the children and their beautiful photography project, "Through the Eyes of Children." Give yourself a treat and visit this gorgeous site,http://www.rwandaproject.org

If you would like to make a donation to the Imbabazi Orphanage in Rwanda, where Rosamond Carr�s work will be carried on, please make your check payable to: PIC/Roz Carr Memorial Fund. Your contribution is fully deductible and will go directly to Imbabazi. The Columbus Zoo is a 501-3(c) organization.

Mail to:
Click here to visit Project: Seeing Clearly Roz Carr Memorial Fund
Columbus Zoo
Partners In Conservation
Attn: Charlene Jendry
P.O. Box 400
Powell, Oh 43065 USA

If you would like more information about Partners In Conservation, visit the Columbus Zoo Web site or send an e-mail directly to Charjend@aol.com

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