Rwanda Assignment for CAFOD

This assignment was quite unexpected and arranged at fairly short notice which made it all the more exciting. It was also my first assignment travelling from Australia so quite unusual to be checking in at Perth airport and flying to Bangkok then Kigali rather than just going back to London and Jersey..!!

The aim of the trip was to give photographic coverage to 3 of the UK’s largest regional newspapers, the Manchester Evening News, the Liverpool Echo and the Yorkshire Post. Each had a journalist on the trip with the intention of reporting on CAFOD funded projects in Rwanda in time for fund raising events during Lent.

I’d been to Rwanda once before but only very briefly stopping overnight on the way to the Congo so it was a great opportunity to go back and have a closer look. These days, virtually everyone knows Rwanda due to the genocide back in 1994 and it was the ongoing repercussions of this horrific event our reporting was to be based on. As a bit of background, over one million ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutus were tortured and murdered during a 100 day rampage by the Hutu dominant government and its supporters. Neighbors, friends and even family members turned on each other. Children lost their families, women were beaten, raped and saw their families cut down in front of them.

During our days there we interviewed a number of woman and orphans and they all spoke of the isolation they felt once the killing was over. With no one to turn to and no one to share their experiences with, the words, “I felt there was nothing to live for”, “I wanted to die” were repeated time and time again. With CAFOD’s support, local NGO, Avega East encouraged those with similar stories and living near each other to join together in associations. As well as providing trauma counseling on an individual and group basis, the charity provides small loans so the survivors can take control of their lives once again.

Below are a few of the pictures taken during the trip. I’ll also be posting links to the articles written by the journalists. For further information about this and the rest of CAFOD’s work please click here.

The Liverpool Echo-Online article

Names on the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre.

A view over Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Now peaceful and one of the safest cities in Africa.

Joselyne Ingabire (43) in her garden at home in Rwamagana. During the genocide her husband and family were killed and she was raped and became pregnant and caught HIV. She is now a volunteer counsellor with NGO Avega East.

Odette Mukambayiha who was raped and widowed during the genocide and now lives in Nyagasambu Village where Avega East paid for 35 houses for genocide widows

Collette Musabwasoni (47) lost her husband and five children in the genocide. She nows lives in Nyagasambu Village where Avega East paid for 35 houses for genocide widows. She runs a food stall business paid for by micro credit.

Widows tending their banana plantation in Nyagasambu Village where Avega East paid for 35 houses for genocide widows. They are assisted by micro credit programs enabling them to grow bananas to both eat and sell.

Kiramuruzi sector Abishyize Hawiwe Cooperative who are helped by Avega East to grow bananas. L-R Mukabutare Theopiste & Mukamutara Phelomene carrying bananas.