Rwanda has drawn strategies and mechanisms geared towards addressing trauma related cases among genocide survivors during the upcoming 21st commemoration of the 1994 Genocide.
Trauma has been highlighted as a common case among the survivors who lost their families and loved ones during the Genocide against Rwanda minority Tutsis by the Majority Hutus.
During the commemoration period that falls on April 7 every year, many survivors experience trauma that breaks the barrier between history and the present. Specifically, commemoration through mourning rituals brings the haunting memories of survivors out in the open.
Rwandans and friends of Rwanda all over the world will next week on Tuesday mark the 21st anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, with a focus on tackling on the issue of genocide denial and revisionism.
“Commemoration period has become a trigger to cases of trauma among Genocide survivors because brings the haunting memories to them. We have embarked on a campaign to set up referral health centres across the country where trauma patients will be given counseling lessons to overcome trauma,” said Yvonne Kayitenshonga, National director of mental health while addressing local reporters on Tuesday.
She noted that walks to memorial sites, night vigils and visits to the grave sites bring traumatic experiences to survivors and non survivors during the genocide.
“The trauma felt by survivors during commemoration symbolize how traumatic memories of the genocide remain fresh in their minds and that is why we have to be vigilant during this difficult period,” Kayitenshonga stressed.
She said that the ministry of Health will avail trained care providers to handle trauma related cases at village and health facility level in a bid foster healing for survivors, many of whom are still traumatised by the horrendous experiences of Genocide.
The observance of the Genocide begins with a commemoration week that involves several activities like visiting and laying wreaths at memorial sites, according decent burial to exhumed Genocide remains, giving testimonies, public lectures, and candle lighting vigils among others.She revealed that the youth constitute the largest number of post-Genocide trauma cases in the country.
According to statistics from Rwanda Red Cross Society 231 cases of trauma were registered at Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi and Amahoro National stadium on the first day of the commemoration alone during last year’s memorial event. Aid workers said districts reported 20-30 cases on April 7. Enditem