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    Kimironko, Rwanda, 25th May 2012 by Carol Allen Storey via The Royal Photographic Society

    Kimironko, Rwanda, 25th May 2012 by Carol Allen Storey via The Royal Photographic Society

    Kimironko, Rwanda, 25th May 2012 by Carol Allen Storey via The Royal Photographic Society

    “When the genocide war began I was only 15. I remember that the Interahamwe invaded our home demanding to see our Hutu identity cards because they suspected we might be Tutsi. In school we were taught that Tutsis were evil people dedicated to harming Hutus. The government curriculum fuelled the hatred with those teachings. Today this has changed with an emphasis on reconciliation and forgiveness, that we are all Rwandese. My family did not participate in the killings; they escaped to the Congo. When we returned to our village after the war, a Tutsi family occupied our home and falsely accused me of murders. I was innocent, but the authorities arrested me. I spent over a decade in jail, half my life, without a trial. I was finally released, as there was no evidence I ever committed any crime. Naturally my heart was filled with bitterness and hate for those that lied. The introduction to the Dialogue Club was life saving. I went through an intensive programme of trauma counselling that emphasized reconciliation and forgiveness. Without this counselling, I could have never been able to eliminate the hate in my heart. Listening to the other members I realised that the entire Rwandan society was experiencing what I had, Hutu and Tutsi had similar problems in rebuilding their lives. Importantly, following the counselling I joined a special programme for entrepreneurship where we learned how to develop a successful business that could help us climb out of poverty with my family. My wife Faina received micro-finance to build a fruit selling business and I am working hard toward starting a motorcycle taxi business.”

    James 33, and his wife Faina, 30
    24 May 2012, Rwanda

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