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Reconciliation Village Hosts Victims, Perpetrators of Rwandan Genocide

September 20, 2010

…In 2005, Mukamana was selected to move into a Reconciliation Village,
located some 30 kilometers south of the Rwandan capital Kigali. The
village is funded by the non-profit Christian organization Prison
Fellowship International, under the condition that survivors and
perpetrators of the genocide agree to live together peacefully.  The
founding members of the community voted on who could live there,
typically choosing families most vulnerable to poverty or illness.

Now, Mukamana lives right next door to some of the people who slaughtered her family.

families live in the Reconciliation Village tin-roofed concrete and
brick houses that they built themselves. The government provided the
land and some organizations like Norwegian Church Aid helped pay for the

…Fredrick Kazigwemo didn’t kill Mukamana’s family members but he did kill
other Tutsis during the genocide. He and about 200 other men in his
village formed up and killed their victims with different weapons –
swords, machetes and even Rwandan traditional spears.

 …While in prison, Kazigwemo started writing letters to the victims’
family members.  After he was released, he went to their homes and asked
for forgiveness in person.

A farmer now, the 41-year-old man and
his wife have four children. Most of the Reconciliation Village
residents work as farmers so they work together in the fields. They have
agriculture and livestock cooperatives. The men do carpentry work
together and the women make handcrafts.

Pastor Deo Gashagaza, the
Executive Director of Prison Fellowship Rwanda, said reconciliation has
to involve economic initiatives like these. “This helps because
reconciliation without acts, without any initiatives for economy is
zero. We need to see how reconciliation goes with economy because when
the genocide had taken place there is destroying the economy also. Many
things were destroyed, like cows, like small businesses everything.
Houses were destroyed,” he said.

…He added that the Reconciliation Village is building the hope of the
nation. “This is a good thing to see because reconciliation is now a
good success. But we are still continuing to do that because it’s a
process. It’s not automatic, one thing you can do in one day. It’s a
journey. But there is a hope for this program,” he said.
Read the full article.


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