As youth, we should pose this question to ourselves: “What should we do to empower the youth?”
In 1994, the world looked away from Rwanda when the Genocide against the Tutsi erupted. Tutsis were being killed by their very Government and their trusted friends and neighbours. It was one of the darkest chapters of human history. It was indeed sad and unjustified!
But that is not the Rwanda of today. There is a new chapter, written by those who have refused to give in to hate. As a result, organisations like, the Kevis Foundation is one of the brightest stories of healing and hope. The foundation advocates for unity and reconciliation among Rwanda’s youth, considering the fact that a large number of youth participated in the mass killings.
The foundation started in July 2011, in Muhanga District, in the southern part of Rwanda. It serves the country’s own children, orphaned and devastated by violence and disease especially HIV/AID. These children are also part of the country’s next generation.
The Foundation believes it is time to rise above Rwanda’s past and chart a course for its future. It encourages the youth to move beyond the past and embrace forgiveness. This is because, as they forgive, they also strive to re-define their values and personalities.
One of the testimonies that left me shaking and engrossed in memory for days was the story of one outstanding youth, Remy Manzi, Kevi’s CEO. He lost his father in 2007 due to homicide. His father was killed by his brother (Manzi’z uncle) who hit him with a hammer on the forehead due to a family business feud. It was a tough time for Manzi and his family. However, instead of drenching in misery of loss and sorrow, he chose to do something incredible. He went into the 1930 Kigali prison- where his Uncle is detained, and chose to forgive him.
“I forgave my uncle, and told him to become my father,” Manzi says. He continued saying that he uses his story of forgiveness as a pillar example to his peers at Kabgayi.
Through nurturing forgiveness, the next generation of Rwanda is empowering itself. Through peer-to-peer education these youth believe that the ability to attaining an all-round education will help them cope with scars resulting from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Hence, they discover a world of their own.
Should Rwandans continue to live in the misery of loss? It is very important to note that unity and reconciliation are the only ways we have to unify our world.