Helping to Heal a Younger Generation

Report of a HROC Workshop in May 2014

FOLLOWING THE TRAINING we had with youth survivors of genocide in April, we were asked by IBUKA (genocide survivors association) in Kimonyi to have a workshop with youth survivors (or children of survivors) and youth whose parents participated in genocide or imprisoned. This workshop gathered 18 youth, 6 young men and 12 young women though we finished with 14 participants.

It was a very young group, not willing to open up or even to share or sit together as other young groups; they kept their emotions to themselves wanting to participate with their heads rather than their hearts. It wasn’t easy for the group to share as they were from different tribes and backgrounds; they were uncomfortable being there together. As mentioned, one could see the difference within by just how they were sitting, but by the end of the workshop, unity was the only word.

HROC Brochure-3As usual, the workshop was opened and closed by the sector official. He took his time to thank HROC for the good work they are doing in the community, mentioning how it was important to have partners who are helping for the healing from trauma (psychological part) of the community. We had the IBUKA representative for the opening and the closing also. He was encouraging the group to share and enjoy the workshop, telling them how it was for their own interest to have a chance to be there.

Participant Testimonies:

“I didn’t see what I was doing here when I first got in by seeing them (Hutu youth)! But I was moved when we started, because I have lived with trauma for so long and I wanted to heal. First we did the big wind blows where I found myself sitting near a youth from a perpetrator’s family (Hutu). It was weird but I didn’t mind. On the second day when we were in sharing time things became worst. We were paired into groups, two people together. I was paired again with one of youth from a perpetrator’s family. I didn’t know what to share with him. I just said to myself that I will make up a story at least so I have something to tell him. It was my first time since the genocide to be with them (youth whose parents participated in genocide or imprisoned). What was strange, I found myself sharing with him. He listened well to me and was much concerned. I didn’t realize he had trouble, too, thinking that I am the only one who was much wounded, but it wasn’t the case. I thank HROC for this, because before the training I didn’t it was possible to have all of us together for three days while even sharing food.”

“The example of the cook pot where if you don’t leave a small hole while cooking because of the heat it can bust (this example usually used by Theo, referring to his grandmother’s pot). It was just describing me. I thought someone looked inside me. Before I thought hiding my feelings, problems was good. Actually it was affecting me in my daily life without knowing. I came to learn that it worth nothing to suffer inside. It’s not good at all to hide them. On top of that I gained new friends who I think I will be sharing with.”

“This training gave me something important I didn’t think of in my whole life. During gathering time where we were to say someone we trust and why, I remembered the guy who rescued me during the genocide. Without him I could not survive! I learnt to do good, build trust if I want a better life.”

“About the trust and mistrust tree: I had so many of the mistrust roots in me, but I never thought about the negatives effects before — how it would affect me and my family and my country.  But after I learned the tree of trust I am completely changed and want to be a good ambassador in my community.”

“I had never realized the symptoms of trauma. I thought crying and screaming was the only symptom. So I didn’t realize what was happening to me was because of trauma. I am so glad I was able to attend this training. Hopefully I can even help others who are facing the same problems as I was.”

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