2014 Hermann Gmeiner Award Nominee: Agnes Tuyishimire

As a child, Agnes Tuyishimire found a refuge in the SOS Village in Kigali, Rwanda after her parents lost their lives in the genocide. All her life, she has worked selflessly for others and has helped many people overcome the trauma of genocide.

“I wish for a world of peace in which in all people are happy and have basic necessities,” she said.

Agnes was eight years old when she and her younger sister were embraced by her new family in Kigali.

The excitement of being part of a new family with a caring mother and many brothers and sisters is something she will never forget. Nor the way in which the entire SOS Children’s Village reached out to the community.

“It was so exciting to experience that we as children could give a smile to people who had lost the hope of living,” she said.

Agnes never stopped helping. As a little girl, she shared her money with classmates so that they could stay in school. During her university studies, she committed herself to the cause of reconciliation for genocide survivors. Additionally, she founded a small cooperative to help individual women in need to care for their families.

Agnes completed her degree in project management. She maintained her honesty and high standards in her career. She consistently defied the instructions of her superiors and awarded contracts to the best provider and not, as demanded, to friends and relatives.

“It has always been a pleasure for me to help other people. I am what I am today because I have been helped by others. I was lucky enough to experience the care of a mother after losing my parents. SOS Children’s Villages helped me, which is why I want to do the same for others,” Agnes said.

Today, she works for a World Bank funded project in Rwanda. In her community, she is still a driving force behind many social projects and uses her salary to financially assist her brothers and sisters with their education. Thanks to Agnes, three of her four cousins have finished university.

 “Agnes’ commitment makes it possible for wonderful things to happen in her community,” Ntabana Louis, Village Director of SOS Children’s Village Kigali, said.

>> See the other 2014 Hermann Gmeiner Award nominees