Rwandans are remembering the 100 days of the 27th Genocide Memorial. They remember more than one million Tutsi – babies, children, youth, men, women and elders – killed in just 100 days. During this critical period of remembrance, most Rwandans and peace-loving people from all over the world stand with the survivors of the 1994 Genocide, as they fondly and sadly remember their lost and missed mums, dads, children, siblings, aunties, uncles, friends and neighbours killed in inhuman conditions. These lost family and friends were so special to them, inspired them and were their models, sources of hope for their lives and future. In losing them, they were shattered, traumatized, living in despair without hope or meaning.
Emmanuel and Athanasie stand by the eternal flame at the Genocide Memorial in Kigali, Rwanda
After 27 years of struggle with trauma and despair, the survivors are on their healing journey and hope to rebuild themselves. They are now aware that they need a peaceful and safe Rwanda for themselves, their new families and children, and future grandchildren. They are also aware that forgiveness is an important factor to ensure there is peace, reconciliation, unity and healing.
They have responded positively to the campaign of forgiveness, unity and reconciliation under the motto, “Ndi Umunyarwanda,” meaning, “I am Rwandan.” This campaign is carried out by the government of Rwanda‘s agency for unity and reconciliation. It appeals to all citizens of Rwanda to feel proudly Rwandan first before claiming belonging to a particular ethnic group.
On a positive note, we rejoice that some survivors have worked hard and become integrated in the socio-economic life of Rwanda. They feel safe and hopeful. They work to earn a living but they still have traumatic memories and need recovery. Some of the women survivors of the 1994 Genocide are still deeply affected by mild trauma.
Those not targeted by the 1994 Genocide but who witnessed its extreme violence also suffer from guilt, shame, mild trauma and depression. People with such health issues are unable to work for a living.
Emmanuel delivers food and visits with Diane, a survivor of trauma
Great appreciation goes to the government of Rwanda and other stakeholders who regularly provide support to these vulnerable people in terms of medical treatment, housing, education and other needs. YEGO Rwanda, with limited resources from its sister charitable organization YEGO Canada, is proud to make its small contribution towards trauma healing, education and food distribution among these vulnerable Rwandans.
YEGO Rwanda and YEGO Canada stand with the survivors during this critical time, wish comfort and healing to the survivors and is always committed to supporting their healing in any way possible in the future.
Emmanuel Gatera, April 20, 2021, Kigali