|© UNICEF/ HQ07-1367/Pirozzi|
|Young people comprise over half of Rwanda’s population, but poverty, food insecurity, HIV/AIDS and the lingering effects of genocide continue to threaten children's welfare and development.|
By Gabrielle Galanek
Podcast #7: Rwanda’s Children, 14 Years After the Genocide. Click here to listen to a discussion about educating children in some of the world’s most challenging contexts, featuring these guests:
Immaculee Ilibagiza, author of the New York Times bestselling autobiography ‘Left to Tell’; and Dr. Kathy Kantengwa, Chair of the Forum for African Women Educationalists, Rwanda Executive Committee.
NEW YORK, USA, 8 May 2008 – Exactly one month ago, Rwanda commemorated the 14th anniversary of its genocide. By this time in 1994, half a million Rwandans had already been killed in an ethnic-cleansing campaign.
When it was over in late summer of that year, at least 800,000 people were dead. More than 300,000 of them were children.
This special segment of the ‘Beyond School Books’ podcast series features two Rwandan guests who recently talked with moderator Amy Costello about the legacy left behind by the genocide – and about how their nation and its young people are coping.
Rebuilding communities through education
Children in Rwanda have a variety of needs that must be met, relating to education, health and psychosocial services. However, Ms. Ilibagiza pointed to an underlying, basic emotional need that can sometimes get lost.
“Many hearts of children are broken,” she said. “They have seen the worst, so they need to be reassured that they are loved.”
Today, more than 400,000 children in Rwanda are not attending school. Less than half of those who do go to school will complete their education. Speaking to UNICEF from Kigali, Dr. Kantengwa stressed the importance of education in rebuilding the country and healing communities.
“Education of the young generation will help build a better future and, hopefully, people will learn new ways of thinking to live together,” she said.
Mourning the Rwandan genocide, 14 years on
News note: Rwanda launches campaign to keep girls in school
Rwanda schools still struggling to recover from 1994 genocide
12 years after the genocide, Rwandan children speak out to power at the Second Children’s Summit
10 years after the genocide, Rwandan children continue to live with its devastating effects
Forum for African Women Educationalists
(external link, opens in a new window)
'Beyond School Books'
The following stories are part of the 'Beyond School Books' series focusing on education during emergencies.
Segment #74: Young people provide strategic advice on education issues
Segment #73: Girls advocate for girls' education and gender equality