Human Rights, Rwanda (Summer 2016)

A group of 13 SMU students, faculty and staff are in Rwanda from August 4-13, 2016 with SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program. After the country’s 1994 genocide, in which as many as a million people were killed in 100 days, “history lives on,” says group leader and program director Rick Halperin. The group are visiting genocide sites and meeting with survivors, government representatives and representatives of NGOs, They are also carrying donated books, classroom supplies, toys and clothing to share with the schools and orphanages they are visiting.

Urukundo

Sarah S. is a senior majoring in accounting and minoring in human rights and psychology: Going to Urukundo was by far one of my favorite aspects of the trip. Urukundo means love in Kinyarwanda, and that is truly what this place and its people embody. We had the opportunity to speak with their fearless leader, Mama Arlene. My favorite part? The adorable little boy in rain boots a tad too big for him that held my hand throughout our whole tour. I had to take him to his lunch group myself because he didn’t want to leave! I’m currently dreaming about going back and working at Urukundo – it’s such a special place.

2016-08-15T15:27:29+00:00 August 15th, 2016|Human Rights, Rwanda (Summer 2016)|

Les Enfants de Dieu in Ndera

Sarah S. is a senior majoring in accounting and minoring in human rights and psychology: These kids did not disappoint! Drums, traditional dance, singing, acrobatics, hip hop dancing – the talent was out of this world! We brought them soccer balls, flying disks, clothes and school supplies. Something about this place that I thought was fantastic was the multiple different minister positions. The boys gain a great sense of ownership and responsibility through being in charge of, or on the committee for, a certain area of the home. Above all, my favorite thing was dancing and taking pictures with all of these boys. Goodness do they know how to get down and strike a pose! They were so welcoming and [...]

2016-08-15T15:23:59+00:00 August 15th, 2016|Human Rights, Rwanda (Summer 2016)|

Kigali National Memorial

Sarah S. is a senior majoring in accounting and minoring in human rights and psychology: Our group was given the opportunity to have a question and answer session with one of the museum’s docents who was also a genocide survivor. There were two responses of his that stuck out to me. One of our students asked about the forgiveness process and how the survivor was able to forgive his neighbors. The survivor said that a large contributor to the way that Rwanda so successfully transitioned to peace is that the government did not give them the ability to seek revenge. The government always put forth immense efforts to encourage forgiveness and looking forward. The father of a schoolmate killed the [...]

2016-08-15T15:21:17+00:00 August 15th, 2016|Human Rights, Rwanda (Summer 2016)|

Nelson Mandela Village

Sarah S. is a senior majoring in accounting and minoring in human rights and psychology: We were greeted with the most amazing hugs from the village women. Some of them even remembered members of the group that came last year! Dr. Halperin said something that really struck me, “though physically we live thousands of miles away, we are family, family is in here (motioned to his heart).” We presented the village with 10 goats, as well as soccer balls and flying disks for the kids. I had the most amazing game of flying disk toss with one of the girls, Fiona.

2016-08-15T15:15:26+00:00 August 15th, 2016|Human Rights, Rwanda (Summer 2016)|

Painful Stories

Alexandra Crai is traveling with SMU’s Embrey Human Rights students to visit memorial sites in Rwanda that were affected by 1994 genocide: Today was a particularly moving day in this emotional trip to Rwanda. We have visited many memorials and seen the graves and remains of those who were killed, but today we heard first-hand stories from survivors. Listening to the woman and two men tell their stories between tears was heart-wrenching, as they opened the wounds from 22 years earlier. First, I would like to thank all three of them for their bravery and strength to sit in a room of strangers and relive such terrible memories. Patrick was a driver and tour guide for us for the entire [...]

2016-08-15T11:17:52+00:00 August 12th, 2016|Human Rights, Rwanda (Summer 2016)|

Visiting Rwanda

Maude Kauffman is traveling with SMU’s Embrey Human Rights students to visit memorial sites in Rwanda that were affected by 1994 genocide: I always knew I wanted to come to Rwanda, I just never knew the vessel with which to make my dream come true. Until I enrolled at SMU in the summer of 2015. When I first learned of the EHRP and their trip to Rwanda, I knew I had to go. In Texas, I have a family friend who is a refugee from Rwanda. His story was all I really knew about this beautiful place. And then just like that, I was here. The road to get here was not simple, but has been worth every second. I [...]

2016-08-12T13:20:35+00:00 August 12th, 2016|Human Rights, Rwanda (Summer 2016)|

Priceless Images

Winnie Hinson is traveling with SMU’s Embrey Human Rights students to visit memorial sites in Rwanda that were affected by 1994 genocide: Coming to Rwanda has given me a priceless perspective on what is really happening here and the real courage and humanity of thr Rwandan people...I am thankful for such an excellent program and will treasure the knowledge and memories gained on this trip! Our group at the Presidential Palace Tea plantation Children with the frisbees we gave them.  

2016-08-12T11:42:38+00:00 August 12th, 2016|Human Rights, Rwanda (Summer 2016)|

Experiencing Rwanda

Julia C. is a sophomore at SMU: Waking up in Rwanda everyday was a blessing in itself. I felt completely untouched by the problems and worries of life in America, and settled into the feeling that each day was going to be a significant day. I was approached by a local artist who offers art classes to young boys in his neighborhood. I was able to purchase two paintings that used a sand technique. One was a portrait of a traditional Rwandan family, and one showed a "strong man" with three faces representing a certainty, which the artist put into these words: "he knows when to come, he knows when to go, and he knows when to stay." Each day [...]

2016-08-12T11:31:15+00:00 August 11th, 2016|Human Rights, Rwanda (Summer 2016)|

The Fruits of Labor

Robyn Short is a graduate student of liberal studies: For the past six days, we have covered hundreds of miles of Rwandan countryside, visiting genocide memorial sites and NGOs that serve vulnerable populations still struggling to recover from the events of 1994. Everywhere we went we saw women laboring in farms and carrying mass amounts of their harvest in bags and baskets on their heads as they made the long walk to market. We saw men carrying huge bundles of grains, chickens and bananas on their bicycles. Intuitively, we new they were taking their goods to market. Today, we visited the market. The fruits of the labor were on display. The aroma was earthy — spices, vegetables, beans, fish. It [...]

2016-08-11T11:04:33+00:00 August 11th, 2016|Human Rights, Rwanda (Summer 2016)|

Presidential Palace Memorial

Jack Gordon is traveling with SMU’s Embrey Human Rights students to visit memorial sites in Rwanda that were affected by 1994 genocide: The Presidential Palace Memorial where President Habyramana lived until his plane crashed after being shot down behind the building on 6th of April 1994.  He was killed, along with Cyprien Ntaryamira, the president of Burundi, who was also on the plane. That ignited the "Final Solution", the massacre of the Tutsis.  

2016-08-12T11:33:03+00:00 August 11th, 2016|Human Rights, Rwanda (Summer 2016)|
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