Founder of "Hope in Rwanda" and of the juvenile therapy centre IZERE. She campaigns for the reconciliation between the antagonised ethnic groups in Rwanda in an exemplary way.
Eugénie Musayidire (born 25.12.1952) fled from Rwanda in 1973, after she had heard that Hutu extremists planned to arrest her. She went to Burundi and studied economics and social sciences at the Urumuli University. Four years later she applied for political asylum in Germany, which was granted to her. She founded a family and worked in Siegburg at the Migration and Foreigners Department of the Protestant Church. While being in Germany, she found out that her mother, her brother and his four children, his wife and 22 other relatives had been killed in April 1994. Like many other victims, her mother was murdered by a long-time neighbour from their village. Eugénie used to play with the murderer when she was a little child. Her mother taught his wife sewing, she prepared his daughter for her wedding and looked after their children. Eugénie only got over the massacre and her guilt feelings with the help of psychotherapy. A touching evidence of this difficult process is her book “Mein Stein spricht” ("My stone speaks"), published in 1999, in which she asked herself how the neighbour could become the murderer of a family he had been friends with for many years. The late former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Johannes Rau, appreciated the book with the following words: "I am sure that this book will make a contribution to the memory of the tragedy in her home country. Questions like the ones asked by her must be asked again and again".
In order to find answers to these questions she travelled to Rwanda in early 2001. On this trip she met her mother´s murderer and returned to the village she grew up in. An impressive documentary film - which was awarded with the German Grimme-Preis in 2003 - was made about that experience. At that time she realised the importance of thereconciliation between the Hutu and the Tutsi. Many People, particularly youngsters, are still suffering from the repercussions of the genocide in Rwanda. Witnesses and victims of the dreadful happenings are traumatised and seem to be speechless.
In 2001, she founded the association “Hope in Rwanda” to help these people. It´s the aim of the organisation to create meeting places and to offer therapeutic help, so that the victims can talk about their personal memories of the genocide. At the same time public events are organized to promote intensive debate about the causes and consequences of the killings. Musayidire considers the German dispute about the holocaust as very important, even if it took decades to come to terms with the unprecedented violations of the human rights of Jews as well as of Sinti and Roma. With the support of Protestant Development Aid Musayidire went back to Rwanda in 2003 to continue her project and she bought a piece of land in Nyanza, where the juvenile therapy centre IZERE was built.
The juvenile therapy center IZERE
IZERE cares for children and teenagers who are still suffering from the repercussions of the genocide because they were wounded themselves or witnessed their parents and relatives being killed or their parents becoming murderers. During the holidays, 22 orphans live in the centre and most of them do not have a host family. Furthermore, there are children and teenagers who do not want to return to their families because they cannot cope with the fact that their parents and relatives were involved in the genocide.
Children and teenagers who are suffering from psychological problems due to the genocide have to be re-integrated into society and have to be given the chance of a therapy. IZERE bears the cost for that. Moreover, radio programmes and seminars are organised to inform the public about the psychological trauma resulting from the genocide.