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The Gazelle Foundation funds and builds clean water projects in Burundi, Africa. Founded in 2006 in Austin, Texas by a group of runners interested in helping others, the Gazelle Foundation now includes runners, walkers, couch potatoes, kids, students and others working to help people in Burundi. Locally, we empower Central Texas youth through water education with events like Walk for the Water.
One of the poorest countries on earth, most people in rural Burundi walk over two miles for untreated water from streams and puddles, often shared with livestock. Illness from waterborne infections is high, and a major factor in limiting access to education and economic stability. Through clean water projects, the Gazelle Foundation is offering a first step in breaking the vicious cycle of poverty in Burundi.
The Foundation’s formation was inspired by Gilbert Tuhabonye, a Burundi survivor of the Hutu/Tutsi civil upheaval of the 1980′s and 90′s which reached a “peace” agreement in 2008. Gilbert was born in the southern county of Songa in Burundi, a small mountainous country in east central Africa. He excelled as a runner, becoming national champion in the 400 and 800 meters as an 11th grader.
On October 21, 1993, the centuries-old war between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes erupted as Gilbert and his classmates were in school. His Hutu classmates, their parents, some teachers and other Hutu tribesmen forced more than a hundred Tutsi children and teachers into a room where they beat and burned them to death. Gilbert, on fire, ran to freedom and survived this horrific event.
Eighteen years later and living in the US, Gilbert Tuhabonye is a celebrity in the world of running. He graduated from Abilene Christian University where, despite being covered with scar tissue from his extensive burns, he was a national champion runner. Gilbert still competes and owns and operates a training program called Gilbert’s Gazelles in addition to serving as the Head Cross Country and Track coach at St. Andrews Episcopal High School.
Gilbert is married and has two children. In 2006, he wrote This Voice in My Heart, an autobiographical account of his upbringing and his tale of survival. The response to this touching book has been outstanding, and people have asked how they can help.
The answer is through the Gazelle Foundation.
The Gazelle Foundation improves the quality of life for people in Burundi by providing access to clean water.
The Gazelle Foundation is registered with the Office of the Secretary of State of Texas as a Domestic Non-Profit Corporation. The Foundation has a eleven-member board of directors, including five officers.
The Foundation is recognized as a 501(c)(3) organization by the Internal Revenue Service. Donations made to the Foundation are fully tax-deductable according to IRS guidelines.
How can I get involved is a common question we receive. Please take the time to review our numerous opportunities both locally and abroad on the Get Involved page. Murakoze!