I wish everyone could attend,” said Komezusense Samuel, a released prisoner from the Cyangugu area. “Do more workshops,” echoed Mukayiranga Béatrice, a genocide survivor. Throughout the two weeks of interviews, these sentences were the foremost recommendations we heard from people. The praise for HROC was overwhelming and so was the demand for more - more workshops, more participants, more days, more facilitators, more help! Bring the messages of HROC into every village, every home, and every heart; do not stop until all Rwandans have been reached. The point was abundantly clear - people want change; Rwandans are yearning for it, for a way to cope with what they have been through. All they need is someone to show them the way.
It was a truly moving experience. Not only did we leave Cyangugu on
the last day of interviews inspired, but we also left with a momentous
sense of responsibility. We could not stop here or be satisfied with
what had already been accomplished. No, we needed to push beyond the
praise and go deeper, improve our methods, take the program as far as
it can go. Thankfully, those who were interviewed imparted their suggestions.
Some recommended targeting specific groups of Rwandans to more efficiently
spread the message; some stressed follow-up visits from facilitators;
still others suggested a certificate program.
Me and the other
facilitators try to meet three times a year, but there is no budget…I would like to see HROC strengthened and spread.
Many people need them, but don’t have the chance. I wish HROC would
work with the people in gacaca.
It’s hard to
train all the people, because there is a lack of funding. I would like
the participants to go on and train others in what
they learned and then that person will go and help another. I want facilitators
to get together and exchange ideas on how to facilitate, how to improve
their skills. To have many facilitators would be better.
They need more workshops, so that others can be reconciled. Three days is not enough… In AVP [Alternatives to Violence Program, another Friends Peace House workshop], I got a certificate and card about twelve ways to resolve conflicts, which would be good in the HROC workshops. If many people were trained, then reconciliation would be strong. Everyone – killers and survivors – needs to be trained, because the war touched everyone. Zinucinda Simon, survivor
I wish everyone could
attend. The teachings are good, but the days are few…Instead
of training 20, train 200, so that people can know about it and keep
changing. I also want a follow-up, and I want Friends
Peace House to advocate for our association.
I wish the workshop
would have been more than three days. I would like it if my neighbors
could have come with me…I would like more workshops
and more people attending them. Three days was just the beginning.
In addition to recommendations for longer and more numerous workshops
like the ones above, there was also an incident in Cyangugu which merits
attention (see pages 18 to 20). Although none of the interviewees offered
any specific suggestions on how to address this issue, the problem points
to a need for more post-workshop support. While it is to be expected
that not everyone will understand or welcome the new mind-set of the
participants, it is clear that additional support would be helpful to
many participants in the months following the workshop.