Rwanda, a country of beautiful, rolling, green hills and people who prize hospitality and find joy in the simplicity of daily life, is constantly changing and developing and looking toward a brighter future. This brightness is seen in contrast to some darkness in the country’s history not so long ago. Rwanda is currently in a period of commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi people that occurred 25 years ago…with these days focused on remembering those whose lives were lost and committing to never again allow such hatred and violence to grow in the hearts and minds of people.
On April 7, 1994, a tragic genocide was initiated targeting one people group (Tutsi) with the killing carried out by the other (Hutu). With guidance from Hutu leaders within the government, neighbors and even family members were encouraged to murder those close to them who were Tutsi. This unthinkable killing continued for 100 days and caused more than one million Tutsi deaths. There were heroes and there were perpetrators but all were Rwandan. Thankfully, there was an end to this horror though some deep effects are still felt today.
With a new government in power in these past 25 years, the focus has been on unifying the Rwandan people and bringing reconciliation and healing. There has been so much forgiveness and restoration that will only help this country to move forward towards their brighter future…together. Rwandans are proud of their culture and the ways they are working to build this nation…remembering what has come before but not dwelling on that darkness. Instead, it is a motivating force for growth and resiliency and hope for the days to come.
Several of the secondary students sponsored by Urugo Care Rwanda are actively involved in clubs at school that are focused on promoting this unity and peace within the country. They also teach and encourage fellow students to fight against any genocide ideology that may still be simmering. These students are leading the way in claiming a brighter future.
In closing, here are some remarks shared by President Paul Kagame at the commemoration ceremony last Sunday: “Rwanda became a family, once again. The arms of our people, intertwined, constitute the pillars of our nation. We hold each other up. Our bodies and minds bear amputations and scars, but none of us is alone. Together, we have woven the tattered threads of our unity into a new tapestry. … Our nation has turned a corner. Fear and anger have been replaced by the energy and purpose that drives us forward, young and old. … We Rwandans have granted ourselves a new beginning. We exist in a state of permanent commemoration, every day, in all that we do, in order to remain faithful to that choice.”
Urugo Care Rwanda