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!