Remembering Henri

Remembering Henri

Henri (pictured middle) with the CRC team in North Kivu, DR Congo. Photo by Greg Funnell

It is with great sadness that we share the tragic news that our friend and partner in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Henri Ladyi, passed away last night.

Today, we remember Henri’s remarkable life and contributions to peace. In a country ravaged by cycles of recurrent violence, he always held on to hope.

For over 10 years, Henri led a local organisation, Centre Résolution Conflits (CRC). Under his leadership, it grew into the amazing organisation we now know. Over the years, Henri single-handedly rescued thousands of child soldiers from violent militias. He negotiated with Mai Mai rebels, putting his own life at risk to secure their release.

Once freed, CRC’s programmes provided opportunities for young people to gain skills, recover from the trauma of violent conflict, and reintegrate into their communities once more. Led by Henri’s example, one of CRC’s greatest achievements is changing attitudes towards ex-combatants. Former fighters in Eastern DRC often find themselves excluded from group activities, and stigmatised in their communities. Many former fighters supported by CRC’s programmes now live peacefully with civilians. Henri was a driving force behind community based reintegration work and his commitment to building peace in Eastern Congo was unmatched.

Our CEO, Dylan Mathews, shared these words in tribute to Henri: 

“Some of us were lucky enough to spend time with him, myself included. We knew him as a kind, funny, determined person, with an incredible ability to engage with anyone from militia leader, to child soldier to politician. Henri was the first peacebuilder that we supported and a truly remarkable man. For that reason, he has and will always have a special place in the Peace Direct family.”   

Henri inspired so many of us, and through continuing the work and the future he believed so passionately in, we hope to inspire a great deal more. While we are devastated by this news, our partnership with CRC remains strong, and we will continue supporting their tireless work to create peace. 

Our thoughts remain with Henri’s family and the CRC team at this difficult time.

Repose en paix.

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