Barbara Bush, the daughter of the 43rd US President George W. Bush, led a group of around 150 youth from about 16 countries to pay homage to victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Barbara is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Global Health Corps (GHC), a US based international organisation that rallies global youth to fight for healthy equity.
“It is unbelievable that such a tragedy happened a few years ago, and Rwanda is where it is today,” she said, after touring the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre on Wednesday evening.
Barbara applauded the nation’s courage in putting the regrettable story aside to focus on unity and rebuilding.
“It is amazing to see how Rwandans have put aside the past and focused on reconciliation, unity and development,” she said.
“It’s unbelievable that no external forces tried to stop this tragedy. It took the courage and bravery of Rwandans themselves,” she added.
Benon Mugurusi, a member of the GHC from Uganda, could not hold back his tears after touring the Genocide memorial.
“It is so shameful that the world watched as thousands of innocent people were being killed,” Mugurusi said.
Barbara, 32, a graduate of Humanities from Yale University, US and her delegation are in Rwanda on a week-long training programme aimed at empowering the youth with public health skills, among others, to help improve health in society.
The group has been meeting at Hotel La palice Gashora in Bugesera District. The training ends today. “As GHC, we see Rwanda as an inspiration. The country has developed in all sectors in so short a time.
The Government of Rwanda has put in place various health programmes that are impacting the society positively, we could not find a better training place for fellows,” she said.
GHC was founded in 2009 and has since deployed 450 fellows (members) in over six countries, including Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Burundi and the US.
Jean René Shema, East Africa programme manager, and Rwandan representative, said having the global youth platform choosing Rwanda to host the GHC fellows was a great opportunity.