It was Christmas day in 1993 when Dieudonné’s life changed completely. His father had recently been buried alive in a pit. His father was a respected judge, a community leader and a man of peace but this had offered him no protection. Dieudonné felt terribly alone and destitute, with seemingly nobody and nothing in the world. Shortly after this, when walking through Bujumbura he noticed some other children who had also found their home on the streets. He realised that the $5 given to him by a stranger an hour earlier was more than they had at least. So he bought some sodas and shared the message of Christmas with them. From this humble beginning, Dieudonné went on to form New Generation, an outstanding organisation that supports children from the streets all the way through university and which also reunites them with their families wherever possible.
Slowly but surely things have grown in the intervening years through many challenging times. There have been multiple spectacular answers to prayer along the way. Dieudonné remembers one day when they were all going hungry as a group, and as they prayed they asked the Lord to provide not just someone’s scraps for them. Rather, in faith they asked for the Lord to provide them with an amazing meal.
Simon Guillebaud recounts what happened next:
“At that very moment elsewhere in the capital, I was leaving an embassy function, and there was tray after tray of delicacies, all of which were to be thrown away. So I asked if I could take them for the street children, and a few minutes later arrived at New Generation’s office to hand over the Ambassador for Britain’s food to these cute little hungry faith-filled Ambassadors for Christ!”
They say time is a healer, but also confronting the hurts of the past is crucial. Eventually Dieudonné was able to return to the scene of his father’s murder. As a beautiful testimony of what God had done in his heart, he sought out one of the men responsible for his father’s death. They were able to embrace, give and receive forgiveness, and go arm in arm to that very spot to speak about forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing.
Fast forward more than two decades, and that murderer of his father is now dead, and Dieudonné and his family have sponsored that man’s children through schooling. And Dieudonné is still investing in that shattered community. Under the auspices of New Generation, he has brought together those perpetrators of violence in the war and their victims’ families to work together in a cooperative. These include Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and animists. It is called ‘Healing of Memories’.