Anne Heyman, a Jewish philanthropist who founded a Rwandan youth village for children orphaned in that country’s 1994 genocide, died in a horse-riding accident
The Jewish philanthropist Heyman, 52, died Friday afternoon after falling off a horse while participating in a jumping competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Florida.
Jean Nsengimana, Rwanda’s youth minister, tweeted. “RIP Anne Heyman — your legacy will live on forever, our thoughts are with your family and hundreds of youth in ASYV who just lost a mother.”
“No farewell words were spoken, no time to say goodbye, you were gone before we knew it, and only God knows why” said Eric Nshimyumuremyi.
The Agahozo official facebook page said that the passing away of Anne Heyman was received with deep and heartfelt sorrow
“Each of us grieves not only for the passing of a tremendous woman and a true visionary, but also for the loss suffered by her family” the statement read in part
“Nine years ago, Anne had a vision to build a village to heal vulnerable orphans in Rwanda. Today her vision has been realized and countless lives have been transformed by her incredible generosity, spirit and determination. She has made a remarkable impact on this world and we will continue to work to uphold her legacy” it stated
By press time burial arrangements had been announced scheduled for Monday, February 3rd at 12 noon at B’nai Jeshurun, 257 West 88th Street (between Broadway and West End Avenue).
Who is Heyman
a South Africa native, has been involved in numerous American Jewish philanthropies. She is a former board president of Dorot, a Jewish nonprofit that organizes volunteers to help the elderly and reduce their social isolation.
Heyman and her husband Seth Merrin picked interest in helping Rwandans after the two participated in talk on the genocide in 2005. A year later they together they raised $12 million to build Rwanda’s Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. a place where Rwandan orphans could go to live, study and help rebuild their country.
Agahozo-Shalom residential community and high school in Rwanda which is currently home to 500 vulnerable teens, many of whom were orphaned during and in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide. (Agahozo is the Kinyarwanda word for “a place where one’s tears are dried” and Shalom is Hebrew for “peace.”)
The center was established to enable orphaned and vulnerable youth to realize their maximum potential by providing them with a safe and secure living environment, health care, education and necessary life skills; and utilize education and service to model and create socially responsible citizens in Rwanda and around the world.