Rwandans have been through a terrible, traumatic ordeal through the horrific genocide of the Tutsi community in 1994. Division, conflict and violence between the Tutsi and Hutu communities plagued the country and people fled for their lives towards safety. As Tutsis who were fighting back began to cover more ground, revenge and retaliation plagued the nation, and Rwandans continued to be immersed deep in violence, and this extended into nearby lands such as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

With such a long history of conflict and discord, much peace and reconciliation are needed to help Rwandans move towards peaceful, quiet and progressive lives. Often, the change starts with something simple – locally and within their own community, like in the case of Pastor Murangira Jean Marie Vianney, who serves at an AEBR Church in a southern province in Rwanda. As a result of the genocide, he had found that he had deep hatred for those who had caused his people harm and was prejudiced against them. But with the help of trauma and healing trainings, he learned to move forward to live a life of peace and unity with others. Pastor Murangira says that this changed his life, and helped him to start projects that would help the community obtain peace for themselves as well. He shares, “My hope for the future is that I wish to live where conflict does not exists. Through this program, I hope that there will come a time when church members will be the center of peace and reconciliation. My joy will be to see my community living together having good collaboration among them. My message to the church of Canada is to thank them about their compassionate heart they have towards the Rwandan people. Through their contribution, I knew what peace really is and what I can do to keep peace. ” In the photo, Pastor Murangira is working alongside his community.

Often times, large scale change is achieved by starting with one step in the local community or even in one’s own home. You can be part of change that leads to progress. Visit cbmin.org/donate and contribute to your cause of choice today.