Today, the world reflected on the Rwandan genocide, with an official day of remembrance on the 15th anniversary of the beginning of the violence. When the Rwandan genocide ended in 1994, 800,000 had been murdered. 300,000 of these victims were children. 95,000 children were orphaned. These kind of situations last far longer than the genocide did.
And it’s not just the orphans who bear the scars of the genocides. The children of Rwanda witnessed inhuman violence, brutality, and rape, and it takes years of rebuilding to recover from these psychological wounds. There are still thousands of widows and orphans struggling in Rwanda and 60% of the population live below the poverty line.
Holding perpetrators accountable is one way to move forward and to keep the promise of “Never Again.” Rwanda held those responsible for the killings accountable in a unique way. With most crimes against humanity, there are several masterminds behind the atrocities. Not so with Rwanda, when neighbors killed neighbors throughout the country.
Because justice in the traditional sense is unlikely, costly and time-consuming, Rwandans have shifted the focus to reconciliation. Learn more about the Rwandan reconciliation efforts in our interview with the real Hotel Rwanda hero, Paul Rusesabagina  and in the documentary, As We Forgive .
Between today, April 7th, and July 16th, 10,000 candles will be lit in Rwanda’s capital of Kigali. You can join in these 100 days of remembrance by sending a message of hope to Rwandans or uploading a video of you lighting a candle. Today celebrities and human rights activists around the world lit remembrance candles, check it out on CGG .