News / Africa

Rwanda Genocide Survivors Share Memories with US Students

Rwandan Genocide Survivors Share Memories to Educate US Studentsi
X
Elizabeth Lee
April 03, 2014 11:36 PM
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, and there has been a global movement to remember and educate people about what happened. Some survivors are sharing their painful memories in the United States hoping students will listen and learn from what happened. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles
Elizabeth Lee
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, and there has been a global movement to remember and educate people about what happened.  Some survivors are sharing their painful memories in the United States, hoping students will listen and learn from what happened.

In front of a crowded room at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Yannick Tona recounts memories of horror and suffering most people would never experience.  He has been educating students around the world about what happened to his country of Rwanda 20 years ago, and what happened to his own family.   

“I remember the first time I saw the killing.  The first time I saw people been killed.  The first time I saw bodies," said Tona.

These firsts happened in Rwanda when Tona was only four years old.

“Hide in the bushes, hear people screaming, with machetes blood full of blood.  Bodies on the street everywhere," he said.

Tona’s one-year-old brother and grandmother were killed in the genocide.

Edith Umugiraneza struggled with the fact that she survived while her mother, brothers and many other relatives did not.

“Surviving for me was a problem.  Because I was blaming, 'Why did I survive why I did not go with others?' I had the question, 'Why, why?' all the time," said Umugiraneza.

Now living in the United States, she found healing through prayer and by sharing stories with other survivors

“It happened and we can not bring back our people so we have to move on and we have to help each other," she said.

Her story is a part of the video archive at the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation - The Institute for Visual History and Education.  The Institute has been collecting video testimonies of genocide survivors in several countries.  For Rwanda, it aims to collect 500 testimonies.  So far, 65 are in its visual history archive.

The Institute is also involved with Kwibuka20, a series of events worldwide and in the virtual world that commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.  On the Kwibuka20 website, people can offer messages of hope and unity.

USC Shoah Foundation’s Stephen Smith is the Executive Director of Kwibuka20.

“People all around the world are coming together as a world community to reflect on what happened, but also to leave their voice and to make their point of view very clear about genocide in the world today what we can do about that how we can be involved," said Smith.

University student Gregory Irwin is passionate about getting involved after a research trip to Rwanda where he met survivors and heard their stories.

“I have been more driven to do something about genocide than ever," said Irwin.

Student Nora Snyder also went on the trip to Rwanda.

“Things like what happened in Rwanda are still going on in the world today and things will continue to happen unless we take the time to remember," said Snyder.

As a part of the Shoah Foundation Institute Student Association, they are remembering the genocide by organizing events on campus - including Yannick Tona’s and Edith Umugiraneza’s testimony.  The aim is to try to make students care enough to do something to prevent or stop any future genocides.

You May Like

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid