Prison Fellowship Rwanda in partnership with Interpeace Rwanda facilitated the tour learning visit for Interpeace Ethiopia to Rweru Reconciliation Village to see and learn from Rwanda’s efforts towards unity, reconciliation and resilience after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Rweru Reconciliation Village (RRV) is located near Burundi boarder in Bugesera district with approximately 75.5 km & almost a 2-hour drive from Kigali city, it is one among the 9 reconciliation villages built by Prison Fellowship Rwanda to not only foster peace building & conflict resolution among genocide perpetrators and survivors but also to stand as monuments to archive Rwanda’s legacy of unity & reconciliation for the future generation’s learning and inspiration.
The Vice Mayor in charge of Social Affaires in Bugesera District, Mrs. Imanishimwe Yvette introduced the visit function by welcoming the guests & giving a brief demographic information about Rweru Reconciliation Village as a hub for Unity, reconciliation and resilience site, inhabited by 110 families, 560 village members, 68 genocide survivors, 28 genocide perpetrators and 20 vulnerable poor members. She furthermore asserted that the village members have now achieved unity & reconciliation instead they are now working together to thrive as a community with the support from the Government and its partners such as PFR & Interpeace.
Upon the visitor’s arrival, Rweru Reconciliation Village members always have warm welcome songs celebrating their guests and the main reason of unity, reconciliation and resilience that have attracted hundreds of foreigners to come and learn from them, testimonies were narrated between both the journeys of genocide perpetrators and survivors, tracing from the precolonial era, genocide ideology after the independence, during genocide and life after genocide resulting today’s unity, reconciliation & resilience.
“In response to Rwanda’s reality, Interpeace Rwanda and its local partners, including Prison Fellowship Rwanda (PFR), Dignity in Detention Organization (DIDE) and HAGURUKA are implementing a programme entitled: ‘’Reinforcing community capacity for social cohesion and reconciliation through Societal Trauma Healing.” This innovative initiative offers a holistic approach to simultaneously address mental health, promote social cohesion, and stimulate sustainable collaborative livelihoods of individuals and communities.” Said the Programs Manager Interpeace Rwanda
Furthermore, Prison Fellowship Rwanda’s Programs Manager Added in his remark that “The programme provides safe spaces for dialogue, healing, and capacity strengthening of existing formal mental health structures and local societal healing practitioners to strengthen a comprehensive and community-based mental health and psycho-social support system, he stated further that members from these Villages of Unity and Reconciliation have now become ambassadors of peace building and conflict resolution in that they do travel many countries such as Central Africa republic & South Sudan teaching as living witnesses of unity, reconciliation and resilience.”
Due to the fact that Rwanda and Ethiopia do share a lot in common and hence fueled with the existing good bilateral relations between the government of Rwanda and the federal democratic republic of Ethiopia, it was upon the request of interpeace Ethiopia to make a tour learning visit to Interpeace Rwanda with a purpose to learn about Rwanda’s efforts & achievement on unity, reconciliation and resilience in more than 2 decades in the aftermath of genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.
“Our hearts are overflowing and moved with such a miracle of Unity & reconciliation in Rwanda because back in our country since the Tigray war in November 2020, Ethiopia’s political and security situation has continued to deteriorate with millions of citizens displaced from their homes, thousands killed and growing economic challenges. The continued conflict is threatening the perspective of sustainable peace and democratic gains achieved thus far hence Interpeace Ethiopia wishes to learn more on how to implement activities aimed at advancing sustainable peace in Ethiopia and strengthening the Ethiopian Ministry of Peace’s capacity to use conflict sensitive and peace responsive approaches in policy development like Rwanda is doing today” said Interpeace Ethiopia’s Representative