The Youth Champions are a powerful force for change as Rwanda continues to recover from the 1994 genocide. In just the past year, 232 active youth club members within Healing Our Communities have led 209 activities. They have built homes, gardens, kitchens, and latrines for vulnerable elders, widows, orphans, and families, bringing communities together as they go.
They have led commemoration events; cleaned memorial sites; held plays about peacebuilding in many neighboring communities; and organized sports tournaments with themes of peace. They have pooled their own savings to bring food to those less fortunate or buy materials to complete their projects for those in need. These youth regularly speak up at district and sector level meetings and have become known as peacebuilders in their communities.
Youth Champions have also emerged as skilled media producers, with support from Aegis Trust through Healing Our Communities. Here are just a few of the 18 short videos youth have produced to tell stories of reconciliation, hope, compassion, and forgiveness:
The Healing our Communities program in Rwanda works closely with our three Rwandan partner organizations to address grievances from the 1994 genocide—focusing on a total of 16 communities where tensions remain particularly high. It is a cooperative effort, with each organization bringing in a different element of post-genocide reconciliation. Aegis Trust focuses on training, mentoring, and supporting the Youth Champions.
The other partners are Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities, which facilitates trauma healing among both survivors and former perpetrators; and Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace, which creates dialogue clubs for resolving conflicts in each project community. The program is supported by a grant from USAID.