Stories of Reconciliation and Rebuilding in Rwanda

Stories of Reconciliation and Rebuilding in Rwanda

"Peace from Rwanda." Photo: courtesy of <a href="http://bachersblog.com/">Adam Bacher</a>
"Peace from Rwanda." Photo: courtesy of Adam Bacher

Rwanda, 1994: Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly members of the Tutsi minority, are slaughtered by their ethnic Hutu neighbors in one of the worst genocides of the 20th century.

Today, the words "Hutu" and "Tutsi," once ripe with divisiveness and hatred, are no longer spoken on the streets of Rwanda. Reconciliation efforts have led perpetrators and survivors to work together to rebuild their common livelihoods.

Photographer Adam Bacher is documenting the efforts of this New Rwanda, giving readers of his blog a reason to be hopeful about the country's future. He provides a sweeping visual tour of reconciliation efforts, from a progressive rehabilitation center for former child soldiers, to a community-service program for former prisoners who rebuild the homes of survivors. He also documents programs meant to empower victims and rebuild the Rwandan economy. He visits a community-driven hospital construction project for infectious disease patients, and follows a non-profit that teaches vocational micro-business skills to children orphaned by the genocide.

The inspiration behind Bacher's work lies in the resilience of the Rwandan people:

Today Rwanda is an example of peace. The people have chosen not to allow themselves to become captive to decades of retributional killings. Distinctions between ethnic groups, political extremism, wide spread corruption, media manipulation, and other factors that led to the genocide have all but disappeared. Rwandans are working hard to reconcile their differences, and grow themselves out of poverty - toward peace and prosperity. They are an example to the world of what is possible.

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