In 1994, as many as 1,000,000 Rwandans lost their lives during a brutal 100 day genocide against the Tutsi. From 7 April to mid-July, the genocide spread from Rwanda's capital Kigali throughout the country, leaving over one million Tutsis dead and an estimated 2,000,000 people displaced.
Rwanda observes a week-long national period of mourning and remembrance – Icyunamo – each year, beginning on 7 April. 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the Tutsi genocide.
For this anniversary we go back and revisit a few people who have been part of our reconciliation project to see how they are continuing to rebuild their lives after the genocide and how they are now helping to build peace in their communities.
Looking at how fostering dialogue between the groups affected and providing psychosocial support can help communities recover, heal, build trust and be part of the reconciliation process.
Here are their stories
"I am optimistic about the future because I am healed and able to join others – this gives me happiness and power to do more and succeed in life."Read more
“When I look at my parents and their generation, I would say they had a lot of negative anger. Anger which I don’t feel and do not want to continue."Read more
"By giving me a home, the dialogue club members (both Hutu and Tutsi) made me feel like I belong. It won’t bring back my dead children, but it will help me feel part of the community again.”Read more
"My prayer is that in the future no one is deceived the way I was to hate Tutsis, to kill them. I did terrible things to innocent people."Read more
“Before joining the peace club I was extremely bitter about the people who put my father in jail. But after joining I came to understand why it happened. We ended up being friends, even with those people whom I had previously considered as enemies.”Read more
International Alert's work in Rwanda
International Alert has worked in Rwanda since 1996. We support the peaceful reintegration and reconciliation of genocide survivors, perpetrators and ex-combatants.
Our work has focused on fostering dialogue between groups affected by the genocide, encouraging citizen participation in the reconciliation process, and supporting initiatives that enable people to put their livelihoods back together.
Supporting reconciliation after genocide
Create local ownership. Link local experiences with national agendas. Provide psychosocial support. Combine dialogue with practical activities.
Our experience in Rwanda has given us unique insight into how to support the reconciliation process and create lasting peace.
Fractured Lives - the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide
Since the genocide, Rwandans have made remarkable progress in re-establishing normality.
Yet, communities across Rwanda remain divided and individuals are still piecing together their fractured lives. These are the incredible stories of Rwandan people who are still working hard to rebuild their lives and their divided society after the 1994 genocide.