Joseline was 17 when genocide came to her village Butamwe in central Rwanda in April 1994. As Hutu men and boys — men and boys that Joseline had grown up with — began killing and raping their Tutsi friends and neighbors, Joseline ran into the tall grass around her village. For three days, she hid there until the fields were set ablaze.
Waiting until evening when the smoke masked the moonlight, Joseline fled. And survived.
The only surviving member of her family, Joseline returned to her village after the genocide. In 1999, as a 23 year old mother of two, with only a primary school education, Joseline campaigned in the new government’s first elections and won the position as head of development in her village. Her third child, Christian, was born seven years after the genocide into what his mother hopes is a safer world.
On April 7, we mark the 16th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. We honor the courage and strength of individuals like Joseline, who survived immense tragedy determined to help rebuild their country. And we remember the more than 500,000 who could not — their lives cut short during the 100 days of genocide.
We know that the future can be different for Joseline, her children, and peoples around the world who might be targeted because of who they are. Visitors to the Museum and web site users from as far away as Beijing and Moscow have made personal pledges to help meet the challenge of genocide. How will you take action?