What do the children know about the 1994 genocide, when mass killings shook their country to its core?
Renewal and developmentRenewal and developmentIn this video… Rwandans are keen to forget the past and show the world their country is moving on. Many construction projects can be seen in the video as the camera scans the streets.
They are too young to have witnessed the atrocities or experienced the brutal killing of friends and family. But their parents, grandparents and neighbours did...in Rwanda every adult has a horror story to tell.
Euphrasie, Alain, Sylvine, Sonia and Serge are at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, a place to remember all the people who died and suffered. It's a place which educates people about what happened, so history does not repeat itself.
Some of the perpetrators of the violence have been jailed, particularly those who initiated mass killings. But the majority remained free and living in the community. It's hard to imagine, but many Rwandans have to live their daily life among those who committed brutal acts of inhumanity. Rwandans have been told they must forgive – easier said than done – because it's the only way the country can move on.
As the children respectfully walk around the museum, they are shocked at some of the images on the walls. Pictures show women and children who have been killed and gangs of men shouting and waving weapons.
Even as Rwanda begins to develop and prosper, the country can't forget what happened. During those 100 days in 1994, more than 800,000 people were slaughtered by machete-wielding gangs. Feelings of fear still pervade in some places. But there is also hope and a determination that the memorial centre's emblazoned plea, 'Never Again', will prevail.
Windows of despair and hope
The children sit in front of a poignant stained glass window. There are two such windows at the memorial museum. The one you see is called ‘During the Genocide’. It depicts the period leading up to the killings, when no effort was made by international governments to intervene. The window is dark and sobering. There is another window called ‘After the Genocide’ where stairs lead up to the sky. It promises a better future.