- Karen Visser
Another busy month at Compelled by Love!
Another busy month at Compelled by Love!
A WONDERFUL TIME OF STRENGTHENING
OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH CARSA This month we had Christophe and Diane, the founders of CARSA (Christian Action for Reconciliation and Social Assistance) visit all the way from Rwanda and spend two weeks working closely with the CbL team in Melbourne. It was a great time of strengthening the partnership between CbL and CARSA, learning more about the vision CARSA has for the future of their work in Rwanda and spending quality time together.
Christophe & Diane spoke about the work we do with the 'Empower' program and presented at several schools and churches over the time they were here. It was an amazing chance for CbL to share about the work we are doing in Rwanda with new audiences. Our supporters were able to hear firsthand about the work they have made possible through their giving.
We managed to fit in some day trips to show Christophe and Diane all that Melbourne has to offer, from beaches, coffee and (of course) our iconic Australian animals. We are very grateful for the time we spent with Christophe & Diane and we are so excited about the future of our partnership!
25 years on: Remembering The 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi
WHAT EXACTLY TOOK PLACE:
A DEVASTATING SERIES OF EVENTS
On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying Rwanda’s President Habyarimana and Burundi’s President Ntaryamira was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over Kigali, Rwanda, leaving no survivors.
Within an hour of the plane crash, the Presidential Guard together with members of the Rwandan armed forces (FAR) and Hutu militia groups set up roadblocks and barricades and began slaughtering Tutsis and moderate Hutus mercilessly.
The mass killings in Rwanda quickly spread from Kigali to the rest of the country, with an estimated 800,000 to 1,000,000 people slaughtered over the next three months. The international community, for the most part, stood on the sidelines and refused to intervene. UN peacekeepers in the country were not allowed to use force and failed to act on a cable sent by their force commander in January 1994 warning of the risk of genocide. By early July 1994, RPF forces had gained control over most of country, including Kigali. In response, more than 2 million people, nearly all Hutus, fled Rwanda, crowding into refugee camps in the Congo (then called Zaire) and other neighbouring countries.
After its victory, the Tutsi-led RPF established a coalition government similar to that agreed upon at Arusha, with Pasteur Bizimungu, a Hutu, as president and Paul Kagame, a Tutsi, as vice president and defence minister. Habyarimana’s NRMD party, which had played a key role in organising the genocide, was outlawed, and a new constitution adopted in 2003 eliminated reference to ethnicity. The new constitution was followed by Kagame’s election to a 10-year term as Rwanda’s president and the country’s first-ever legislative elections. Both children and adults faced devastating psychological damage in the aftermath of the genocide – those who saw atrocities, those who were forced to commit them, and those who were victims of attack. Many of these victims remain disfigured and handicapped, which makes daily life a struggle physically and psychologically. Furthermore, 91% of survivors did not have a chance to bury their relatives or perform mourning ceremonies, and nearly as many had not yet seen the remains of loved ones.
In 1994, a new word appeared in the Rwandan vocabulary specifically to describe psychological problems that were the result of genocide. “Ihahamuke” is used to describe post-traumatic stress and chronic traumatic grief. Symptoms include constant fear, anti-social behaviours, promiscuity in young adults, and aggression and irritability towards everyone. After 25 years, the nation building initiatives and programs aimed at healing and reconciliation have been helping to mend a wounded society. The economy is booming, the country is at peace and the government has been stable since the end of the genocide.
"The motto of the Rwandan people now is that there are no Hutus or Tutsis…only Rwandans."
To honour the lives of those who suffered and are still suffering as a result of the genocide, we have launched a campaign to fund an entire 'Empower' program. The world failed to help Rwanda during the genocide, however we have the opportunity to act now and help Rwanda heal from all it has endured. If you would like to be a part of this special campaign - you can do so here.
COMPELLED BY LOVE'S MEMBERS BRUNCH
To commemorate the 25th memorial period of The 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi, Compelled by Love hosted a Memorial Event for our Members. It was a wonderful morning of connecting with our supporters and learning about Rwanda. Christophe spoke about the history of the genocide and shared some powerful testimonies from our 'Empower' program. A huge thank you to First Crop Coffee & Inglewood who provided all our members with Rwandan coffee to take home!
CELEBRATIONS IN INDIA
We love to celebrate our students in the India ESP program, and this month we celebrated Tashu's birthday! It was a wonderful day of cake, presents, and fun. Thank you to all our supporters who continue to make the birthday celebrations possible!
That's all from us here at Compelled by Love! Thank you for taking the time to keep up to date with our news. We are so grateful for your continued love and support which makes everything we do possible.
With love - Team CbL