Mary who was born in Kamonyi District. During the genocide, she was hidden by a neighbor, a man who did his best to save her life. Interahamwe militia used to come hunting for her just because they were hunting down other people identified as Tutsi. When he realized that there was no remaining chance of her survival, he suggested to marry her because it was the only remaining option to declare that she is now his wife . Each time the killers came to kill Mary would chase them away telling them that she is his wife.
During her time of hiding, Mary suffered at the hands of her mother in- law who used to harass her from time to time what a cockroach or enemy was doing in their home. One time Mary was stripped naked by her mother in law and chased out of the home of refuge but her husband brought her back.
When the genocide came to an end, Mary started another journey of suffering. Her in-laws continued harassing her this time due to their guilt conscience they had arising from their role in mistreating her during the genocide against Tutsi.
As if that was not enough, her fellow survivors of genocide alsoharassed started harassing and calling bad names such as traitor who got married tosomeone whom they considered an enemy. Worse still even organizations like IBUKA and FARG which were supposed to defend her rights discriminated her refused to give her any assistance even though it was her right. She found herself abandoned and isolated by every one without mentioning that she was living a life of isolation.
But when Iwacu ni amahoro project started life for Mary also started improving. She joined agroup of other women survivors who got married in similar circumstances and now she considers them to be her relatives. The training that Iwacu ni amahoro organized for members made her forgive those who did evil to her during the genocide and after now she feels free. She is now out of isolation and is beginning to enjoy a more less normal life.
Besides the positive changes above, IBUKA and FARG have now accepted her back as their bona fide members and have given her clearance to get medical care just like other survivors. Lastly her husband is no longer suspicious of her.
2. TESTIMONY from defeated life to become overcomes
Bella, lives in Kamonyi District. She got married to a man who had two brothers that had participated in the genocide against Tutsi but were later set free after accepting responsibility and seeking clemency as provided for under Gacaca Courts system.
When Bella’s brothers in law came to learn that their brother had married a survivor they convinced their brother to punish her. They started harassing her and boycotted visiting their family. Every time she moved out of the home her tormentors would deliberately call her bad names with the intention of making her suffer. Her children were also given bad names that they are born by a wrong mother. This isolation caused Bella a lot of suffering and psychological torture.
Later on when Bella came to learn about Iwacu ni amahoro Project and she joined it together with a group of other women survivors she started experiencing some kind of relief..Bella was now able to find people who understood her and who have walked a similar journey so they joined hands and started healing each other through discussions and visiting each other in homes. Today no longer feels isolated or miserable as before.
Besides the above benefits local authorities have come to learn about her story and have warned those who were harassing her to stop it or face the consequences. Today her life is coming back to normal and she has hope that things will continue getting better with the support of Iwacu ni amahoro Project.
3. TESTIMONY from victim to change agent
Cecile lives in Ngororero District. She is a survivor of the genocide against Tutsi. She got married to a man in 2010. When Cecile came to her nuptial home and came to learn that her father in law was among those who had committed genocide, she decided never to talk to him or have any interaction with her.
When Iwacu ni amahoro started, Cecile realized that there were other women like her who had had similar life experience. They were trained in peace and unity and reconciliation related themes such as NDI UMUNYARWANDA through which they had discussions that made her free from the hatred she carried for people she had come to regard as her enemies including her father in law, She came to learn that as Rwandans we have a common identity and destiny and should live in peace with each other. They learn how to forgive one another and ask for forgiveness.
After going through the training Cecile went and asked her father in law for forgiveness and confessed to him that she had all along regarded him as an enemy. Today there is peace in the family, Cecile and her husband are teaching their neighbors how to ask for forgiveness and forgive one another. They have become ambassadors of peace in their community thanks to Iwacu ni amahoro project.