Submitted by:

Donna Kent/ Executive Director,
Gina Kilker/ Marketing and Communications Director
Scottsdale, Arizona

Our nominee for the Booming With Purpose contest is Rose Mapendo. She isn’t your typical boomer. No, instead, she and her husband had a business together (her first career) and then their life radically changed when the ravage of genocide hit their village. She and her family experienced the pain of losing loved ones and unthinkable brutality. Today, rescued from prison and relocated to the U.S., her new “career” is one born of a passion to be the “last one suffering.” She not only works to raise money through her foundation (the Rose Mapendo Foundation) she helps the local refugee community and helps those refugees acclimate and re-settle into their new lives here in addition to rallying the refugee community to assist those they left behind.

This is her story:

In the post Rwandan genocide of 1994, the Hutu’s and Tutsis continued there fighting, eventually spilling over into eastern Congo.  One of the families affected by the fighting was the family of Rose Mapendo, who along with 7 of her 8 children and husband were taken from their home to a death camp to suffer abuse and await certain death.  Rose’s husband was tortured and murdered by guards in the first two weeks.  Rose discovered she was pregnant soon after.  She and her children continued to be held captive for 17 months, in cages and conditions to horrible to describe in detail.

The real story is how Rose got to a place of amazing forgiveness, just prior to giving birth to the twin boys, alone in the dark on the concrete floor of the cage where she was being held.  She and her now 10 children through the grace of God survived and were eventually able to settle as refugees in Arizona.  Today Rose uses her families horrific experience as a platform to share her story, how she was able to forgive the very people who abused her and were planning to kill her and her children.  She also has a clear message to women all over the world of how to stand together strong, no matter what the culture and how when many woman come together they can “Push an Elephant”.  Rose is an icon for all those who make the Impossible Possible. Her story is a culmination of many who stand even today in a part of the world that we should have difficulty recognizing. But through the grace and belief in God and accepting that others bring his good work to them, Rose hopes to change the plight of these women and their families… and thus bring to life that all God’s children have a place in this world.

Here is a brief video introducing Rose and some of the awards she has won, including the Volvo For Life Award, CNN Hero and UN Humanitarian of the Year.