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Gilbert Tuhabonye

Gilbert Tuhabonye is an accomplished Burundian runner and a survivor of a massacre during the Burundian Civil War. Tuhabonye was the child of ethnic Tutsis in the county of Songa. While attending school, Tuhabonye began running competitively and training for the Olympics. In October 1993, members of the Hutu tribe invaded his high school and forced him and more than 100 Tutsi children and teachers into a room to beat and burn them to death. After nearly nine hours buried beneath the burning corpses of his classmates and suffering burns over much of his body, Tuhabonye used the charred bone of a classmate to break a window to escape and run to safety. Despite extensive burns and scarring, Tuhabonye obtained a track scholarship at Abilene Christian University in 1996, and became a national champion runner and NCAA All-American. He is the award-winning coach of Gilbert’s Gazelles Training Group in Texas. In 2006, he cofounded the ;Gazelle Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to improve life for people in Burundi, regardless of ethnic affiliations, by building water systems in the country to provide clean water for citizens. He is the author of “This Voice in My Heart: A Genocide Survivor’s Story of Escape, Faith, and Forgiveness.”

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