Rwanda: 20 years on

April 2014 marks 20 years since the Rwandan genocide.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your generous support and give you an update on our work so far.

Through trauma counselling, we’re helping people talk about their experiences, and forgive and reconcile with each another:

“Trauma counselling opened up my heart; it allowed me to forgive those who had committed crimes, especially the family that murdered my sister.” – Consolata, survivor

By setting up Dialogue Clubs, we’re helping communities to come together and work through their issues and grievances:

“Through the local Dialogue Clubs in our village I learned to shed my shame as I shared stories with fellow villagers, survivors and perpetrators side by side. I owe much to this Club that creates an atmosphere where forgiveness thrives. The survivors have accepted me. I help many old women survivors because they have no family. I am there for them.” – Alexis, ex-prisoner

By making microfinance available to groups of perpetrators and victims, we are encouraging them to rebuild and prosper together:

“After they slaughtered the Tutsis they destroyed their properties, so anyone surviving would have nothing to come home to … the project also offered microfinance. Now, in partnership with three other members, we have established a successful business of cultivating rice, which has a constant demand.” – Joseph, survivor

We have also started to run school dialogue clubs, to address trauma, discrimination and prejudices being passed down by older generations, as well as encourage understanding and tolerance. We get young people to have frank and open conversations about the past and what effect it has had on them, and how they can play an active role in rebuilding Rwanda. Young people like Colotirada, who took part in one of our Dialogue Clubs:

“I am a Hutu. I joined the Club because I wanted to understand the causes of the genocide and what solutions are being pursued in the future to establish peace and reduce the anger between Hutu and Tutsi, as we are not taught this period of history in school.

The Club gave me the confidence to talk to my parents openly. I convinced them to seek forgiveness from an old woman survivor, whose family home was destroyed by my father. My parents also paid the woman back RF 100,000 in retribution for the loss she suffered.

The Club’s philosophy and training has helped my family and especially me to re-think the causes of conflict and how to avoid it ... especially to reduce rumour and prejudice, which triggers aggression.”

The events in 1994 may seem like a distant memory, but there are no quick fixes when it comes to building peace. There are many communities across Rwanda still trying to deal with the aftermath of the genocide. With your support we can reach out to them.

Your gift of £20 could provide trauma counselling for a genocide victim, helping them to move forward and deal with their grief.

Your support of £60 could train a school facilitator to run school dialogue clubs, helping to break the cycle of hatred and discrimination being passed on.

Whatever the size of your gift, you’ll be helping us to make a difference to the lives of thousands of people. Thank you.