Few people in history have experienced the horrors of genocide and holocausts and lived to tell their story. Far fewer have the strength and courage to relive those harrowing moments so that others may understand the depths of its injustice to learn from it. Jeanne Celestine Lakin is one of those extraordinary, courageous people.
In the Spring of 1994, the Rwandan government, assisted by trained militias and Hutu citizens, launched an orchestrated massacre with the goal of eliminating the entire Tutsi ethnic group. Over the course of 100 days, young Celestine Lakin, a Tutsi, and her little sisters narrowly evaded the bloodthirsty militiamen while they hid in forests, swamps and bushes. After months of carnage, she learned almost all her adult relatives, including her parents, along with one million others were slaughtered. Yet surviving the genocide was only the beginning. At age 14, Celestine Lakin found herself in an American classroom learning an unfamiliar language, battling PTSD, and bearing the deeps wounds caused by the horror she witnessed.
Determined not to be defined by her past, Celestine Lakin recognized education as the key to overcoming poverty and began a promising new phase in her life. She earned her high school diploma, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, all with honors, and started the process of healing and forgiveness that she simply could not keep to herself.
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Celestine Lakin is the author of A Voice in the Darkness: Memoir of a Rwandan Genocide Survivor and founder of the charity program One Million Orphans, that seeks to bring sustainable support to the world’s most vulnerable children.
Why Book Jeanne Celestine Lakin for Your Event
With compassion, maturity and sincerity, Celestine Lakin takes audiences along on her personal journey of perseverance — from genocide orphan to author and orphan advocate. Her message instantly becomes an encouragement to both student groups and business audiences alike in need of the insight to overcome their own struggles. Celestine Lakin also illuminates faith-based audiences with her profound testimony of faith and forgiveness while highlighting the power of unity and the human family.