Genocide has become a term that has too frequently surfaced in recent human history, including Rwanda.
This month marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Rwandan genocide. On April 7th, 1994, war broke out in this small African country between the Hutus and the Tutsis.
The genocide took place in the context of the Rwandan civil war as a result of the Rwandan Patriotic Front clashing with the Hutu government. Over the course of 100 days an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed, the majority being Tutsis.
Like other genocides throughout history, many people who fled in order to survive resulting in mass amounts of refugees. Both children and adults had trouble adapting to their new surroundings.
A woman named Angela fled to Glasgow, Scotland with her two children as a result of the Rwandan genocide. She stated that she choose to go there to improve her English in addition to providing a safe environment for her children. Though she found that she made friends just fine, her children suffered from bullying. Other children avoided her kids on the playground and even spat in their mouths.
A man named Walter fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo with his family when he was nine years old. In reflecting on his childhood he said, “Displaced people often lose hope, their humanity and their ability to trust and love. Children are stripped of the things we take for granted — morning hugs, greetings, breakfasts with family or even praying together.”
The anniversary of the Rwandan genocide sheds light on the traumatic experiences these refugees have faced. It illustrates the struggle of being forced from one culture to another.