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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Marie Claudine - Survivor of Genocide in Rwanda

02/06/07 Marie-Claudine - broken past, bright future Dancer, Actress Some people are just inspiration personified. Marie-Claudine witnessed the horrors of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 firsthand, but today, she’s an up-and-coming dancer and actress in Brooklyn, N.Y., and living proof that there is hope after tragedy. “I just got here one year [ago],” she says. “It’s hard and everybody’s struggling — but when I dance, I feel good.” Her bright smile and bubbly personality transfer that good feeling to anyone within close proximity to this beauty, and her ambition is limitless. Also an accomplished singer and artist, Claudine’s talents know no bounds. “I do lots of stuff [because] I grew up in a Catholic Youth Movement,” explains Marie. “I got exposed when I was very young.” Her involvement in the youth movement helped her gain entry into the film and entertainment industry in Rwanda fairly easily, but it was a different story across the Atlantic. “When I came [to America], I told everyone I wanted to act, but I didn’t know that you had to audition!” Marie-Claudine hasn’t forgotten the atrocities that she witnessed. She participated in Rwanda Path to Peace’s U.N.-sponsored basket weaving program to fortify unity and peace among the country’s Hutu and Tutsi populations. She has also spoken about her experiences at conferences. “I survived the genocide over there,” she shares. “But when I meet people [here] and say ‘I’m from Rwanda,’ everyone’s so excited and wants to help!” With a little help from her friends, and a lot of talent, there’s no stopping Marie-Claudine from ascending in her new surroundings. It would be foolish to expect anything less. -todd williams

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