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At the intersection of health and peace, a genocide survivor returns to Burundi

Burundi has some of the world’s worst health indicators, including high rates of child malnutrition and mortality. It suffered from the same genocidal catastrophe that Rwanda did in the mid-1990s.

But you don’t hear much about Burundi in aid and development circles. In this week’s podcast, we explore this enigma with Deogratias Niyizonkiza – Deo for short – a survivor of the genocide who is trying to rebuild his country through his non-profit, community based health organization Village Health Works.

Deo’s extraordinary life is the subject of Tracy Kidder’s best-selling book The Strength In What Remains. He’s without question one of the most inspiring people I’ve met this year. Tune into hear Deo discuss his escape from genocide, what it was like to arrive here penniless from a country most have never heard of (there’s a funny story there) and Village Heatlth Works’ truly grassroots community-building work.

Listen or download the mp3 below.


About Author

Ansel Herz

Ansel Herz is a freelance multimedia journalist whose objective is to “go to where the silence is." His work has been published by ABC News, The Nation magazine, the New York Daily News, Al Jazeera English, Free Speech Radio News, Inter-Press News and many other publications. A Seattle native and survivor of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Ansel is producer of Humanosphere's podcast, among other things. You can contact him at ansel.herz[at] or follow him on Twitter @Ansel.