Rwandan genocide survivor shares hope with New Iberia through free event

Iberia Parish

NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY) — Tonight, New Iberia is hosting a speaker who has traveled the world using her life story to teach prayer and forgiveness. You can hear Rwandan genocide survivor and New York Times best-selling author Immaculée Ilibagiza in person Thursday at 7:00 P.M. in the West End Park Gymnasium at 1200 Field Street in New Iberia. The event is free and registration is not required. She will also keynote at a retreat December 10-11 that you can find more information on and register for here.

“There’s a part of me inside that just wants to give people hope,” Immaculée Ilibagiza told News 10 Thursday afternoon.

Many would describe what she went through as a young woman as hopeless. For 91 days she survived Rwanda’s genocide and her tribe’s murder by hiding in a 3×4 bathroom with seven other women. 800,000 people were killed in 100 days. Instead of succumbing to the pain and rage she felt, she turned to prayer.

“I remember going to my enemies and begging God to help me to forgive them, teach me how do you pray for them, and the time came, and that is mostly what I share in my story is especially that transformation to come to a place of peace because that is what forgiveness felt like,” Ilibagiza shared.

Ellen Mullen invited Ilibagiza to New Iberia six months ago because in her words, “We wanted to get it out to all of New Iberia.”

Six months ago, Ellen Mullen invited Ilibagiza to New Iberia for a weekend retreat but also to speak to high school students and the public at large for free.

“Because we have seen an increased rate of violence in New Iberia, and I think the way to combat that is with peace, love, and forgiveness,” Mullen stated.

Immaculée Ilibagiza’s story has touched the lives of millions across the globe through nine books, some written in 17 languages, but Louisiana has a special place in her heart.

“People here gets me because they have gone through so much headaches and so much problems like the hurricanes that have happened here. Some people have lost their homes. People have been uprooted from where they stayed, so faith was very important in my life. It is truly through that that I can say I am alive through my faith,” Ilibagiza concluded.

Again, Immaculée Ilibagiza in person Thursday at 7:00 P.M. in the West End Park Gymnasium at 1200 Field Street in New Iberia. The event is free and registration is not required. She will also keynote at a retreat December 10-11 that you can find more information on and register for here.

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