Rwanda ignite presentation

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This is an Ignite talk on a recent trip to Rwanda with Women for Women International. Ignite allows 5 minutes, 20 slides and 15 seconds per slide, auto advanced whether you're ready or not.

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Rwanda ignite presentation

  1. 1. 1  
  2. 2. I  had  always  wanted  to  go  to  Rwanda  ever  since  I  was  in  college  and  saw  the  movie,  “Gorillas  in  the  Mist”  about  the  mountain  gorillas  and  Dian  Fossey.  I  didn’t  get  the  chance  to  go  right  away  though,  and  later  chaos  and  war  erupted  in  the  region.   2  
  3. 3. In  1993,  there  a  genocide.  The  scale  of  the  it  was  enormous—in  a  country  the  size  of  the  state  of  MassachuseIs,  800,000  people  were  killed  in  100  days.  The  country  was  leM  in  ruins.       3  
  4. 4. When  Women  for  Women  InternaOonal  put  together  a  donor  trip  recently,  I  went  along,  This  group  helps  vicOms  of  war  get  back  on  their  feet.    In  Rwanda  alone,  they’ve  helped  40,000  women  and  they  have  programs  in  many  other  countries  as  well.   4  
  5. 5. I  had  no  idea  what  to  expect  on  the  ground  there,  and  I  was  absolutely  unprepared  for  what  I  found  there.  I  knew  immediately  aMer  geRng  off  the  plane  that  something  was  different.      First,  there  was  no  trash  on  the  side  of  the  road;  for  a  developing  country  this  is  highly  unusual.   5  
  6. 6. I  counted—it  became  my  personal  game.    In  2  weeks  of  traveling  all  over  I  counted  4  pieces  of  garbage.    What  I  did  see,  though,  were  fiber  opOc  cables  lining  the  countryside—from  border  to  border.  This  was  a  far  cry  from  the  devastaOon  I  expected.     6  
  7. 7. But  there  were  reminders.    Every  village  has  a  memorial  commemoraOng  the  genocide.    This  church  in  Murambi  preserves  the  clothes  of  the  vicOms  to  serve  as  a  reminder  of  the  Ome  when  the  Hutus  killed  their  Tutsi  neighbors  and  friends.   7  
  8. 8. The  Hutus  and  Tutsi  were  tribes  that  were  set  up  by  the  Belgians  in  the  1920s.  Prior  to  that  there  had  been  no  separaOon  in  the  country.  And  interesOngly,  though  there  was  no  foreign  aid  to  stop  the  genocide,  but  there  was  plenty  of  it  to  feed  it.     8  
  9. 9. The  100  day  orchestrated  and  preplanned  blitz  was  further  fueled  by  the  government  and  hate  radio.  No  one  was  spared,  not  even  children.       9  
  10. 10. I  could  not  wrap  my  brain  around  any  of  it.    How  people  could  do  this  to  each  other?  And  how  could  the  country  go  on  aMer  this  to  create  a  future—and  a  bright  future  at  that?  The  answer  begins  with  strong  leadership,  which  they  have  in  the  form  of  their  president,  Paul  Kagame.   10  
  11. 11. However,  the  credit  is  also  due  to  the  hearts  of  the  Rwandan  people.    Their  naOonal  goal  is  reconciliaOon.  Instead  of  revenge,  they  are  seeking  forgiveness  with  a  vengeance.      They  will  seIle  for  nothing  less.  First,  though,  jusOce  had  to  be  served.    Many  perpetrators  are  in  jail  now,  although  not  all  of  them.   11  
  12. 12. The  words  Hutu  and  Tutsi  are  now  banned  in  the  country,  and  the  people  live  and  work  side  by  side  rebuilding  their  country.   12  
  13. 13. I  realized  in  Rwanda  that  I  don’t  know  anything  about  forgiveness  because  I  haven’t  experienced  the  unforgiveable.      Maybe  only  when  you  cross  that  brink  do  you  get  to  understand  what  really  lies  within  the  human  heart.     13  
  14. 14. It’s  not  complete  and  it’s  not  perfect  and  it  may  never  be,  but  as  with  anything,  maybe  it’s  not  necessarily  the  aIainment  of  something  you  seek  that  lightens  your  load,  but  the  progress  towards  it.   14  
  15. 15. We’ve  all  probably  thought  at  Omes  that  if  we  can  just  be,  or  do,  or  have  more,  that  will  make  us  happy.    But,  as  we  all  know,  that  lasts  about  a  minute  if  we’re  lucky  before  we  have  to  have  something  else.  This  is  a  typical  village  house.  But,  the  owner  could  not  be  more  proud  or  happy.   15  
  16. 16. She  is  a  recent  graduate  of  the  Women  for  Women  InternaOonal  year  long  program.    She’s  now  a  business  woman  and  she  can  send  her  children  to  school,  finally.       16  
  17. 17. 95%  of  the  graduates  are  now  able  to  send  their  kids  to  school.  The  training  consists  of  not  only  vocaOonal  training,  but  they  also  learn  life  skills,  including  what  their  rights  are  as  women  and  as  ciOzens.  Many  have  had  no  idea  about  this,  and  learning  it  seems  to  empower  them.     17  
  18. 18. Every  woman  at  the  graduaOon  ceremony  took  out  her  bank  book  to  show  her  progress,  beaming  with  pride  at  page  aMer  page  of  10  cent  deposits.  They  couldn’t  wait  to  show  us  what  they  had  accomplished.       18  
  19. 19. It  seems  like  so  liIle  but  it  adds  up  to  so  much.    When  a  child  can  go  to  school  it  changes  the  village.    When  each  village  spends  a  half  a  day  cleaning  each  month,  soon  the  country  is  prisOne  and  the  people  have  great  pride  in  it.   19  
  20. 20. My  struggle  was  to  realize  that  my  small  contribuOon  maIered  in  the  face  of  such  extreme  poverty.    When  people  know  that  others  care—that  we  know  what  happened-­‐-­‐it  helps  them  heal.   20  
  21. 21. This  is  what  I’m  passionate  about-­‐-­‐the  indomitable  human  spirit  that  can  overcome  seemingly  anything  and  rise  above.     21  

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