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Rwanda 1994 …1995

From April to July 1994, 800, 000 people died in Rwanda, the victims of a genocide perpetrated by the Hutus against the Tutsis (the minority ethnic group) and moderate Hutus. Children were not spared by the massacres, and most of those who did not die were the eye witnesses of atrocious murders. Psychic damage was immense.

In July 1994, three months after the creation of the association, a team was sent to Kigali in Rwanda. Among them, Christiane Péchiné, Head Doctor in the pedo-psychiatry department at the hospital Saint-Jean-de-Dieu of Lyons said: « The children have passed so close to death that they live in a mental chaos. Many of them buried that experience of extreme violence and don't speak about it. Their body and mind suffer in silence. Those images, these brutalities operate out of consciousness. Nightmares, night and even day fears. If we don't do anything, they will turn the fury of that immense violence against themselves or against others».

In this context, Triangle Génération Humanitaire had to work with those psychologically and mentally broken children. The French Committee for UNICEF gave the NGO a grant for a project offering to set up a psychological center in the north of the country, near the lake Ruhango. TGH rehabilitated the buildings that had been lent by the religious community of Foyers de Charité, with the view to training community leaders, teachers and parents, in order to help them better understand children's psychological trauma.

Always with the view to helping the children traumatized by the genocide, TGH set up two «social canteens» in Kigali, the capital city of the country. The buildings, located in the poor districts of Nyamirambo and Bilyogo, were rehabilitated and equipped by TGH. Around thirty Rwandans were employed in order to run the canteens, and to provide a meal and a medical and psychological follow-up to 400 children every day. The canteens became «a place where the children drop their mental suffering». They also allowed the children wishing so to be reintegrated into school. Significant work has been done to favor family reunion and the provision of community care for these children.

However, TGH had to leave Rwanda in a hurry in December 1995, following the decision by the Rwandan government to expel several dozens of NGOs.