Rwanda

Rwanda

Rwanda is very dear to my heart.

Located in central Africa it is known as “the land of a thousand hills.” It has beautiful topography and even more beautiful people.

On April 7th, 1994 a tragic and brutal genocide took place on its soil. In 100 days almost one million people were slaughtered. The people of Rwanda now bear many scars, both physical and emotional.

In 2010 I visited Rwanda with a genocide foundation AegisTrust. They have been very active in Rwanda for many years and built the Kilgali Genocide Memorial Center. Together we documented testimonies of survivors. It was a life-changing experience for me— to say the least!

I returned again in 2012 to work with a very special young lady, Dydine Umanyama, whom I met on my first visit. She was just a young child when her entire family suffered in the genocide. She became a talented filmmaker and created her own foundation Umbrella Cinema Promoters.

Last year she was awarded a grant by the American Embassy in film and storytelling to host the first workshop in film for young women who are children of survivors, “Women’s Potential in Cinema.” I was one of her guest mentors in this workshop.

My love and compassion grew even more when I witnessed the breaking down of barriers amongst these young women, who carry so much trauma and sadness in their hearts and in their minds. We are hoping to do our 2nd workshop this summer!

1 Rwanda's Future UN

This photo was displayed at the UN for the 20th Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide, April 7, 2014

2 Rwanda Genocide Memorial

Genocide Memorial

15 Rwanda Genocide belongings of victims

The belongings of victims of the Rwandan Genocide

3 Rwanda genocide survivor giving testimony jpg

Rwanda genocide survivor giving testimony

4 Rwanda Genocide survivor

Rwanda genocide survivor

Rwanda genocide - a lost future and a new future

Lost future, new future, Dydine Umanyama stands next to photo of a victim of the genocide.

6 Rwanda Genocide daughter of survivor

Daughter of Rwandan genocide survivor

7 Rwanda Genocide daughter of survivor

Daughter of Rwandan genocide survivor

8 Rwanda Genocide Survivor

Rwanda Genocide Survivor

9 Rwandan Genocide breaking down trauma

Breaking down the trauma

10 Rwanda Workshop Women's Potential in Cinema

Women’s Potential in Cinema workshop

11 Rwanda Genocide a new future!

A new future!

12 Rwanda Genocide a new future

A new future!

13 Rwanda Genocide child of survivor -jpg

Child of genocide survivor

14 Rwanda Genoicde class on history at Kigali Memorial Center

Class on genocide history at Kigali Memorial Center

16 Rwanda Genocide Plaque

Genocide Plaque

13 comments

  1. I am so touched to see these faces and to know a photographer like Michele through her humanitarian efforts, brings these people up close and personal to us. Being able to see survivors with smiles and hope in their souls is heart warming. Thank you Michele!

  2. Bringing an awareness through such moving, impactful images and your amazing insight and talent to translate it to us, bravo Michele!

  3. Michele,
    Your photos pulled at my heart strings as they also speak volume’s to the human heart. Photography is a very powerful craft. Excellent photos don’t only display some facts — they tell stories, as you manage to share with the audience the emotions a photographer experienced when taking the shot. Taking excellent pictures and finding a perfect perspective and consider the perfect timing and the results can be truly stunning.
    Thank you for sharing you work.

  4. Michele,
    These pictures are just amazing! It is wonderful that you have found your passion and can use it to help these poor poor people in Rawanda. Especially the children with those sad eyes! You have captured so much emotion in these beautiful pictures.
    Great job!
    XOXO

  5. The photographs document very movingly the strength of the human spirit to endure , to overcome and to hope. They are also reminders of the responsibility we must share for allowing the genocide to happen.
    Thank you, Michele!!!

  6. Michele,

    You are truly a vehicle through which soulful stories can be shared and traumatic experiences can be healed , redeemed and ultimately transformed. To artfully convey one’s story through photographic journalism is such a gift. The true Beauty of each individual is what I see when I look at your pictures. Love , Rebecca

  7. After such a horrific event , it is uplifting to see these individuals smiling and moving on . You have helped them record their history and see their future. Heartwarming as well as beautiful.

  8. MIchele,
    Your passion and compassion are evident in all of your photos.
    You’ve captured the pain of the past and hope of the future in the faces of the survivors.
    I hope you are able to continue your work for many years to come and tell the story of the survivors of genocide.
    hugs
    jackie

  9. Some strong photos. You obviously formed a meaningful relationship with them as evidenced by their smiles and optimism. Your camera is a tool that helps you get closerwith people. Keep up the great work!

    Herb

  10. Michele,
    What a touching story. The photos, as all your photos, are stunning! The eyes of the children always give me goose pimples. Through all their pain and suffering you still see the hope shine through in their smiles. You do a great job!!!!

  11. Seymour and my Mom are at my house and I just showed them your beautiful photography. They (and I) are in awe of your talent!

  12. Hey i am looking for a professional photographer in Kigali, Rwanda that mainly specializes in advertising or anything similar to that field.

    Thanks and any response is appreciated!

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