Rwanda: Remembering the past while looking to the future

Yesterday in Kigali thousands of Rwandan youth came together to march from the Parliament building to the national stadium in remembrance of the victims of the 1994 genocide. I was fortunate enough to be a part of this historic event – there to represent Save the Children and show our support for Rwanda’s children.

Thousands of people walk across Kigali in remembrance of the victims of the 1994 genocide.
Thousands of people walk across Kigali in remembrance of the victims of the 1994 genocide.

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the genocide in which nearly one million people lost their lives in this small country in central Africa. Accordingly, a lot of the attention that is being placed on the country is focused on its tragic past.

Remember, Renuite, Renew

The official title of the national ceremonies marking the occasion is “Kwibuka”, which means “Remember” in the Kinyarwanda language. However, there is another part of the official slogan of the ceremonies that is equally important. In full, it reads: “Remember, Reunite, Renew.” These additional words demonstrate the resolve of Rwandans to come together and work towards a better future.

In our efforts to respect the victims of the past it is also crucial that we too focus on Rwanda’s future. Twenty years after we led a massive operation to reunite orphaned and separated children with surviving family members in the years following the genocide, Save the Children is still working to help the children of Rwanda grow up and have the future they deserve.

One of our most ambitious and exciting initiatives is an innovative education programme to boost literacy rates among Rwanda’s children. We are working with parents, teachers, and entire communities to make sure that children are given all the support they need – in the form of books, well-equipped classrooms and home support – to fulfil their potential as students.

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