As a fifteen year old boy in his native Rwanda, Frederick Ndabaramiye was dragged from a bus and brutally attacked by Interahamwe rebels. When he refused to kill 18 fellow passengers the rebels hacked off Frederick’s hand with machetes, made him watch as they killed the others and left him for dead. After a year in the hospital, Frederick found his way to the Imbabazi, an orphanage started by American Roseamond Carr in the aftermath of the genocide. Most of Frederick’s family had been slaughtered and his mother, who remained alive, did not have the resources to care for him after his lost his hands.
In 2003, Partners in Conservation, an arm of The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, arranged for Frederick to come to Columbus to receive prosthetic arms. All medical and prosthetic expenses were provided to Frederick at no expense to him.
A film crew from ABC‘s Prime Time television show spent a week in Columbus documenting Frederic’s daily activities and Charlie Gibson, host of Prime Time, interviewed Frederic. The segment titled – Frederic’s Story – aired November 27, 2003. Frederic thanked people at the Columbus Zoo for giving him an opportunity to be independent again, and stated that he was determined to do something to help improve the lives of other disabled people.
“The Columbus Zoo gave me a chance to be independent again and now I want to help other people who are just like me.” Frederick Ndabaramiye.
Frederick is co-founder, along with Zachary Dusingizimana, of the Ubumwe Community Center (UCC) in Gisenyi, Rwanda. UCC helps disabled Rwandan adults and children to live productive and independent lives. UCC offers education, job skills and training, meals, and artisan training to people of all abilities.
Fredrick conveys the devastating details of being a victim of the cultural hatred and genocide in Rwanda. Fredrick now preaches the work of forgiveness while running his Ubumwe Community Center for disabled adults and children.