A small country about the size of Maryland or Vermont, Rwanda has a distinctly beautiful, lush landscape graced with grasslands, small farms on rolling hillsides, rugged mountains, lakes, and volcanoes.
Despite it great natural beauty, Rwanda was the site of one of Africa’s largest genocides in recent time. Between April 7 and June 17, 1994, in the space of only 100 days, Hutus rampaged through the country and slaughtered an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and their moderate Hutu sympathizers. Although the reports of the genocide were horrific, no country came to the Tutsis’ assistance. The scale and speed of the slaughter left the country and its people deeply scarred, and it was not until May 2003 that a constitution, with a balance of power shared between the Hutus and Tutsis, became law.
There are many lessons to be learned from a visit to this beautiful East African country, which spawns both the mighty Nile and the Congo Rivers. It is lead by a smart president who in some respects seems to lead more like a benevolent dictator.
President Paul Kagame doesn't highly value freedom of speech, and people are readily jailed, for instance, for violating strict rules
governing conversation about "the War." He is all about education and building the economy, however, and has instituted major programs to insure stability for foreign investors and to help them succeed in this small country where average wages are still only a few hundred dollars a year.
In January 2012, Joyce and Bill Cummings, co-founders of Cummings Foundation, and several friends visited Rwanda to learn about humanitarian efforts to heal the country and probable sorely needed services to those impacted by the genocide and its aftermath. Read Joyce’s travel journal here. That visit led to substantial commitments to the Partners in Health hospitals in Rwinkwavu and Butaro, and a probable long-term involvement there by Institute for World Justice.
For Additional Information:
This organization campaigns against crimes against humanity around the world, and runs the Kigali Memorial Centre in Rwanda (with Kigali City Council) and the Holocaust Memorial and Educational Centre in the UK. Aegis is dedicated to the prediction, prevention, and ultimately the elimination of genocide, and was founded by James Smith, M.D. and Stephen Smith, Ph. D.
Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village
Founded by Anne Heyman and Seth Merrin, this village provides orphaned and vulnerable youth, many of whom are survivors of the Rwandan genocide, with a safe and secure living environment, health care, education, and necessary life skills. It uses education and service to model and create socially responsible citizens in Rwanda and around the world. ASYV admits 125 students to its four-year residential program each January, and gives them all a far better than average high school education.
In January 2011, this new hospital opened its doors in northern Rwanda. The flagship 150-bed facility was built as part of the ongoing collaboration between Partners In Health and the government of Rwanda. With electronic access to educational resources and expert consultation, the hospital aims to be a leader in using information technology to aid patient care.
Human Rights Watch - Rwanda
This site contains news releases, reports, commentaries, letters, and essential background for Rwanda.
Kigali Memorial Centre
Built on a site where more than 250,000 people are buried, this centre contains a permanent exhibition of the Rwandan genocide and a very worthwhile exhibition of other genocides around the world. It was opened for the 10th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide in 2004.
Partners in Health (PIH)
Based in Boston, MA, PIH provides a preferential health care option for the poor through service delivery, training, research, and advocacy and works globally to serve those most in need and provide an antidote to those in despair. Founded in 1987 by Dr. Paul Farmer, Thomas J. White and Todd McCormack, PIH currently operates in Boston, Haiti, Peru, Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi, Russia, and Kazakhstan with partner projects in Guatemala, Mexico, Burundi, Mali, Liberia and Nepal.
Rwanda Gift for Life
This organization strives to provide ways to address critical issues for genocide survivors, including balanced nutrition, trauma counseling, secure home conditions, school enrollment for children, sustainable economic independence, and physical, mental and emotional health. In Rwanda, UNICEF offers programs in health and nutrition; water sanitation and hygiene; as well as education in HIV and AIDS protection.
Rwanda Travel Journal
Extensive notes with pictures by Joyce Cummings from January 2012 journey through Rwanda.
Launched in April 2005, this hospital was Partners In Health's first project in Rwanda. In addition to treating the ill, the staff provides knowledge and skills to improve their lives. Through a training center and garden, patients learn how to grow food on whatever plot of land they have, and are given seeds to get started.
Works for children's rights, their survival, development and protection, guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In Rwanda, UNICEF offers programs in; health and nutrition; water sanitation and hygiene; as well as HIV and AIDS education.
The U.S. and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994
This National Security Archive sites offers several government documents regarding the Rwandan genocide. This independent non-governmental research institute and library collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
U.S. Department of State
A good resource for fact sheets, press releases, remarks, and more.
Rwanda - The Wake of a Genocide
Includes background, multimedia reports, selected readings, current news, and ways to help.
Yale - Genocide Studies Program
A list compiled by the Rwandan Genocide Project of articles and research that offer information about the genocide in Rwanda.
In Rwanda, Health Care Coverage That Eludes the U.S.
The New York Times, July 3, 2012
Cummings Foundation imaze gutanga 500,000 US$ yo gufasha Abanyarwanda
Kigali Today, June 1, 2012
Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village helps young Rwandans heal
Christian Science Monitor, May 22, 2012
Rwandan students meet WMHS counterparts
Woburn Patch, May 18, 2012
Hoping a trail leads to a tourist future
Boston Globe Travel, March 18, 2012
The Economist, February 25, 2012
James Nachtwey’s reflection on the Rwandan genocide
Time Magazine, April 6, 2011
Rwanda's medical miracle
Times Live, January 22, 2011
Rwanda: How the genocide happened
BBC News, December 18, 2008
Ghosts of Rwanda
PBS - FRONTLINE
A special two-hour documentary to mark the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide examining the social, political, and diplomatic failures that converged to enable the genocide to occur.
A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It
By Stephen Kinzer
For anyone interested in the genocide in Rwanda, this book offers an enormous amount of historical information. This account of President Paul Kagame takes information from extensive interviews with Kagame and the people who know him, and tells the story of his path from a refugee and rebel organizer, to president of the land-locked nation. Kagame's firm policy on reconciliation without retribution in the post-genocide era is examined, as is the strict adherence to laws and maintenance of government free from corruption. Also included in the book is a robust background on Rwanda as a former Belgian colony, leading up to the 1994 genocide.
Mountains Beyond Mountains The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World
By Tracy Kidder
A compelling and inspiring book, Mountains Beyond Mountains, is the true story of Paul Farmer and his journey from a Harvard medical school student dedicated to curing infectious diseases and bringing lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need it most, to the founding of Partners in Health.
At the heart of Mountains Beyond Mountains is the example of a life based on hope and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb “Beyond mountains there are mountains”–as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.
Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness
By Tracey Kidder
This is the inspiring story of one man’s American journey and the ordinary people who help him, providing testament to the power of second chances. Having survived the civil war and genocide in Burundi, Deo arrives in the United States with two hundred dollars, no English and no contacts and goes on to attend Columbia University, medical school, and devote his life to healing.
Several Rwandan residents who had read Strenth in What Remains reported that it gave a very accurate report of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, even though it principally portrayed conditions in Burundi.
Baking Cakes in Kigali: A Novel By Gaile Parkin
A gloriously written little tale set in modern-day Rwanda, Baking Cakes in Kigali introduces one of the most singular and engaging characters in recent fiction: Angel Tungaraza—mother, cake baker and keeper of secrets. While living on the edge of chaos, her cake baking skills transform lives, weave magic, and create hope amid the madness swirling around her.