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2013 Woman of Courage

25 March 2013
Two ladies holds an award. (Credit: Embassy Image))

Ambassador presents award.

Lady speaks to media. (Credit: Embassy Image)

Christine Ntahe talks to media.

Christine Ntahe, a longtime radion and television broadcaster and children's advocate known as the Sunday Mother to many, has been named the 2013 Woman of Courage by the U.S. Embassy. The award was presented by Ambassador Dawn Liberi at a ceremony attended by long-time acquaintances and family of Mrs. Ntahe who praised her for her many years of generosity and commitment to children. 

Each year during Women's History Monday, the Secretary of State asks U.S. Embassies to nominate women who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in advocating for human rights, social justice, and women's equality and advancement as Women of Courage. 

"I want to welcome you here this afternoon to help us recognize a very special woman - Christine Ntahe," the Ambassador told the gathering. "Mrs. Ntahe has a special place in the lives of many Burundians. For over 40 years, she has been an unrelenting advocate for children, especially the most vulnerable."

She was the friendly face to thousands who watched her on national television as she talked to children about topics that concerned them. During the civil war, she hosted a national radio program Tuganirize ibibondo (Parlons avec les enfants) to let children share their fears and hopes on the phone and in the studio. In 1996, Mrs. Exported her program into Burundian refugee camps in Tanzania, Rwanda and Republic of Congo so that war orphans had a place where they could talk about their lives and concerns. 

In 2006, she moved to Isanganiro Radio where she presented the program "Mukenyezi Nturambirwe" (Women Be Brave) as well as another children's program called Yaga Kibondo (Talk Child!). Street children, as well as the more fortunate, came to the studio to share their stories on topics like the importance of school, AIDS prevention and discrimination, children's rights, solidarity and mutual support.

The Ambassador noted that Mrs. Ntahe also has shown great personal commitment to the physical well-being of the most vulnerablechildren. "Each Sunday, up to 40 street children can count on getting a free meal at her house, earning her the title of Sunday Mother," she said. "In addition, she regularly pays school fees and health costs for them as well from her own resources. She even acts as a crossing guard for children at a dangerous intersection in her neighborhood. 

"She is a generous, warm person who has committed her life to the betterment of children without asking for anything in return." 

Mrs. Ntahe thanked the Embassy for the honor and urged those attending to be concerned about the safety of street children. "An abandoned child is a child exposed to crime," she said.

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