Rosamond Halsey Carr (1912-2006) founded the Imbabazi Orphanage in 1994. Since that time Roz and her staff have cared for more than 400 children. Since Roz's passing in 2006, the orphanage is under the direction of Parnters in Conservation and currently cares for more than 100 orphans. 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.

As a young fashion illustrator in New York City, Rosamond Halsey married an adventurous hunter-explorer, Kenneth Carr, whom she journeyed with to the Belgian Congo in 1949. After their eventual divorce, Kenneth left, while Rosamond stayed. In 1955, she moved to northwestern Rwanda to manage a flower plantation, Mugongo, which she eventually purchased. 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 US, she received word that Sembagare, her friend and plantation manager of 50 years, had survived what turned out to be 3 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 built the Imbabazi Orphanage to care for the orphaned children of Rwanda.

Since its founding, the Orphanage was forced to move from Mugongo in 1997 due to violent insurgencies from the Congo. In the nearby lakeside town of Gisenyi, the Imbabazi Orphanage resided for 8 years, changing locations 4 times. In late 2005, Roz was able to move the children back to Mugongo this time to a new, permanent location.

The current director of the orphanage is Devon Knutzman.

To reach the orphange by mail:
Imbabazi Orphanage
BP 98
Gisenyi, Rwanda

via email:

back to main menu