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Inspirational Rwandan artist, cyclist, and humanitarian featured at CMC Speaker Series

Photo of 'I am ABLE" co-founder Frederick Ndabaramiye riding his bike.BRECKENRIDGE – The CMC Speaker Series partners with the Breckenridge Film Festival to bring a powerful documentary to campus June 4. Frederick Ndabaramiye, the co-founder of “I am Able”, witnessed and lived through one of the worst genocides in history in Rwanda when he was a young boy. Four years later, at age 15, he was on a bus that was taken over by Interahamwe rebels. After a gruesome beating, they demanded that Ndabaramiye kill all his fellow passengers. He refused, infuriating the rebels. After killing everyone in front of his eyes, the rebels took him into the forest, cut off his forearms with a dull machete and left him for dead.

Ndabaramiye was in a coma for six months, and remained in the hospital recovering for a year. Upon his release, it was very difficult for him to live with his anger and sadness, but he soon found hope at the Imbabazi Orphanage where he started sharing his story and realized he was not alone. Determined to be independent again, the first thing he relearned was how to smile. Thereafter, he also relearned how to feed, bathe and dress himself. No matter how many attempts each task took, Ndabaramiye never gave up.

Today Ndabaramiye is an artist, an internationally-known speaker, and the co-founder and director of the Ubumwe Community Center for the disabled in Gisenyi, Rwanda and co-founder of the I am Able project. The I am Able disabled cycling team rides through rural African villages to spread their message that disability is not an inability and that we are all able. By sharing their stories along with encouragement, support and training, they hope to inspire a sense of self-worth and independence for all, raising awareness that all beings are valuable members of society.

In collaboration with the Colorado Mountain College Speaker Series and Breckenridge Film Festival, Ndabaramiye is inviting the public to hear his inspiring story of forgiveness, determination, courage and love on June 4 from 7-9 p.m. The evening will begin with a talk about Ndabaramiye’s life and the short film “I am Able,” that recently screened at the Telluride Mountainfilm festival), a Q & A, and a meet and greet. He will also have his book for sale along with some of his paintings.

The evening is being held at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge at the Eileen and Paul Finkel Auditorium, 107 Denison Placer Road, and is free and open to the public. Call Heidi Kunzek at 453-6757 ext. 2614 or go to CMCspeaks.com for more information. To learn more about I am Able, visit www.iamableucc.wordpress.com