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In the aftermath of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, at the age of 82, Rosamond Carr (known to her friends as Roz) founded an orphanage on her flower plantation in the foothills of the Virunga volcanoes. The orphanage is called Imbabazi, which means “a place where you will receive all the love and care a mother would give.” Since it opened its doors in December of 1994, Roz and her staff have cared for more than 400 lost or orphaned children. The Imbabazi is and remains a haven of love and safety and a symbol of hope for all.
Rosamond Carr was born in 1912 in South Orange, NJ; she traded in her life as a fashion illustrator and New York City socialite to follow her husband, dashing British hunter and explorer Kenneth Carr, to what was then the Belgian Congo. The marriage did not last, but Roz’s love for the country and its people was kindled. She bought a plantation of her own in the tiny neighboring country of Rwanda and created a remarkable life for herself there – a life filled with romance and adventure, untold hardships and personal loss, political upheaval and civil wars, and a life that was dedicated, in large part, to the Rwandan people. From the beginning, she helped people by distributing medicine for small ailments, administering first aid and paying school fees for children.
Roz Carr was the longest-living foreign resident in Rwanda and the last of the foreign plantation owners. She witnessed the decline and fall of colonialism in Africa and the emergence of new and struggling African states. She sailed up the Congo River and camped in Pygmy villages. She survived civil wars, revolutions, and one of the greatest human tragedies of our time, the Rwanda genocide of 1994.
Rwanda has come a long way since 1994. While it has struggled to come to terms with the huge loss of life, Rwanda has made great strides in rebuilding its infrastructure, restoring its economy, and promoting peace, justice and reconciliation among its people. Roz and the Imbabazi are one of the many success stories that symbolize the rebuilding of the nation of Rwanda.
Rosamond Carr passed away on September 29, 2006 at Imbabazi, the home she loved for more than 50 years; she was 94 years old. One of the few regrets of her life was that she never had children of her own. Through the Imbabazi Orphanage however, she became mother to hundreds of Rwandan children. The Imbabazi Foundation Board of Directors and the onsite management team continue this legacy and the operations of Imbabazi today.
Now that most of our children are grown and living independently, our focus has turned to the preservation of Roz’s legacy for future generations. To that end, we have entered into a partnership to facilitate the responsible use of our land and assets to generate economic opportunities for the community and support the Imbabazi Family. These will include large-scale agricultural operations, a variety of tourism packages, and a special events venue.