By Gabrielle Galanek
NEW YORK, USA, 8 May 2008 – Exactly one month ago, Rwanda commemorated the 14th anniversary of its genocide. By this time in 1994, half a million Rwandans had already been killed in an ethnic-cleansing campaign.
When it was over in late summer of that year, at least 800,000 people were dead. More than 300,000 of them were children.
This special segment of the ‘Beyond School Books’ podcast series features two Rwandan guests who recently talked with moderator Amy Costello about the legacy left behind by the genocide – and about how their nation and its young people are coping.
Rebuilding communities through education
Children in Rwanda have a variety of needs that must be met, relating to education, health and psychosocial services. However, Ms. Ilibagiza pointed to an underlying, basic emotional need that can sometimes get lost.
“Many hearts of children are broken,” she said. “They have seen the worst, so they need to be reassured that they are loved.”
Today, more than 400,000 children in Rwanda are not attending school. Less than half of those who do go to school will complete their education. Speaking to UNICEF from Kigali, Dr. Kantengwa stressed the importance of education in rebuilding the country and healing communities.
“Education of the young generation will help build a better future and, hopefully, people will learn new ways of thinking to live together,” she said.
About this Podcast
Immaculee Ilibagiza, author of the New York Times bestselling autobiography ‘Left to Tell’; and Dr. Kathy Kantengwa, Chair of the Forum for African Women Educationalists, Rwanda Executive Committee.