The inspirational women of Rwanda who have turned pain into hope on FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT
The inspirational women of Rwanda who have turned pain into hope. They lived through one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century but the power of love and family saved them.
Out of indescribable pain, Eugenie Muhayimana found hope in the birth of her first child.
“My whole family had perished so I said to myself, ‘This child will be my saviour’.”
25 years ago, more than 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were killed in 100 days in the Rwandan Genocide, by Hutu extremists.
Eugenie’s family was killed in the massacres but she survived, only to be taken captive by the murderers and kept as a sex slave. Like many Rwandan women, she was the victim of rape, one of the weapons deployed in the genocide.
Eugenie had two children as a result of the violence, but she made a decision to live and to love them.
Fourteen years after first hearing Eugenie’s story, Sally Sara returns to Rwanda to meet her and other courageous women who have suffered and survived and are now rebuilding their lives and their country.
She meets the children born from these crimes and hears how they’ve managed to face the painful truths of their past, forgive and face the future.
And Sara gains access to the some of the men who committed these crimes as they prepare to be released from prison. Have they repented their sins? Is the community ready to forgive them?
While the men have been doing time, Rwandan women have become leaders in their country. Over half the MPS in the national parliament are now women, giving the country the highest percentage of female MPs in the world.
“The future for women is brilliant,’” says Mary Balikungeri from the Rwanda Women’s Network.
This is an inspiring story about human resilience, the value of forgiveness and the power of love and family.
“I feel strong inside. I managed to survive in terrible conditions, without anybody comforting me…but right now, I am full of hope for the future.” Eugenie Muhayimana
Watch MOTHER COURAGE, Tuesday 10th September on ABC TV at 8pm AEST & again on Friday 13th at 1.30pm. Also on ABC NEWS Channel on Wednesday11th at 5.30am, Saturday 14th at 9.30pm & Sunday 15th at 5.30pm. Available anytime on iview.