Students and staff of Kepler University programme on Friday visited Kigali Genocide Memorial, the resting place of over 250,000 people, to pay their respects to the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
They also took part in a walk to remember and laying wreaths on mass graves.
Since the majority of the students under the Kepler University programme were born after the Genocide, this commemoration was an opportunity for them to learn about what Rwanda went through before, during and after the Genocide.
Sandrine Ishimwe, 20, reflecting on what she had experience at the memorial, said that she has learnt a lot.
“I learnt a lot from the memorial, and the next step now is to share what I have witnessed with other youths who had never visited the memorial. It’s better for us, the youngsters, to know what our parents passed through so that we can make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Aline Iransoneye, another student, said that there are young people who don’t have clear image of what happened in the Genocide.
“Recorded history is not enough, but visiting memorials can help young people relive history themselves. Memorials are our weapon to challenge Genocide revisionists,” she said.
Teppo Jouttenous, the vice president for academic affairs at Kepler University program in Rwanda, said that commemoration is an opportunity for students and staff alike to learn from bitter history of the Genocide in order to shape a better future.
He said that, although most students were born after the Genocide, some of them have their family members who were killed and that it is important for them to fully grasp the history of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
“It is important for the students to know their parents’ dreadful moment for them to learn from that. Remembering is therapy, and it helps us build a better future,” he added.
Kepler is a university programme that provides students in East Africa with access to accredited American degrees by partnering with Southern New Hampshire University.
It combines the best of online learning with in-person seminars and intensive education.