Rosamond Carr and the Imbabazi Orphanage
Rosamond Halsey Carr (1912-2006) founded the Imbabazi Orphanage in 1994 and 82 years old, she became "mother" to more than 100 children. Roz and her staff cared for more than 400 children in the years that followed. Roz first visited The Belgian Congo in 1949, and moved to northwestern Rwanda in 1955, to manage a flower plantation, Mugongo, which she eventually purchased and became her lifelong home. For the next 50 years she witnessed the splendor and demise of colonialism, celebrated Rwanda's independence, and befriended gorilla activist, Dian Fossey, becoming one of her closest friends. (Rosamond is portrayed by the actress Julie Harris in Gorillas in the Mist, the film about the life of Dian Fossey.)
During periods of violence and upheaval, Rosamond always stayed fast to her home at Mugongo, while others left the country. In April, 1994, she was finally forced to evacuate Rwanda with the outbreak of the genocide. After several months in the U.S., she received word that Sembagare, her friend and plantation manager of 50 years, had survived what turned out to be three attempts on his life. In August 1994, at age 82, she returned in a cargo plane, only to find her home in ruins with 50 years of belongings either stolen or destroyed. At Mugongo, she and Sembagare did the only thing that made sense to them; they converted buildings and built the Imbabazi Orphanage to care for the orphaned children of Rwanda.
Roz wrote the book "Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda," with her niece, Ann Howard Halsey, chronicling her love affair with one of the world's most beautiful and tormented regions. She is also the 2004 recipient of the Volvo for Life Award and a movie chronicling her life is currently in production. Roz passed away in 2006 in Rwanda, and her memory continues through the lives of the amazing children she raised.
Today, Imbabazi is dedicated to the continuation and preservation of Roz Carr’s legacy of nurturing and empowering Rwanda’s children and local communities through education, skills training, and income generating opportunities.