The country

The country

Rwanda is a country 4/5 times the size of the Netherlands, situated in central East-Africa, and is the most densely populated country on the African continent. Approximately 11 million people live in this small republic. Rwanda is surrounded by Uganda to the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Burundi to the south and Tanzania to the east. It is a magnificent country with many hills, where coffee, tea and banana plantations are to be found. Most of the people live from agriculture. Rwanda is also one of the poorest countries in the world: approximately 45% of the population live on less than $1.25 per day. Now-a-days Rwanda is known as a country where the economy is growing at a fast tempo, but also that it is one of the safest countries in Africa. 

However, in 1994 it was very different. In that year, from April to July, over a period of approximately 100 days, 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered by Hutu-extremists. Moreover, between 250,000 to 500,000, mostly Tutsi, women and girls were sexually violated in a brutal manner and/or underwent other forms of sexual violence by Hutu-extremists. Albeit in lesser numbers, men, boys, Hutu women and young girls were also raped. The crimes committed in this period have been recognised worldwide as genocide. A long and bloody history in which groups incited hatred based on “alleged” ethnicity, played a major role, and preceded the 1994 genocide. The consequences of this conflict, for women who were sexually abused, are immense. Besides the loss of their family members, they have had to contend with physical and psychological problems, including HIV/AIDS infections and children who were born as a result of rape. They often lost most of their possessions and, moreover, are frequently stigmatized by the community. All of this often causes desperate poverty and to this day, they still suffer the terrible consequences of the genocide.