Rwanda 20 years on: “I wouldn’t still be alive if it wasn’t for sociotherapy”


In the penultimate story of our Rwandan Genocide campaign, marking the 100 day period of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, Therese Kazeneza tells her story of becoming widowed from the genocide and journeying through sociotherapy to overcome her past – although there are still challenges ahead.

You can read an extract of Therese’s story “I wouldn’t still be alive if it wasn’t for sociotherapy” below.  To read her full story, click this link. And to read the stories of the other brave women featured in our campaign, click this link.

Therese’s story

I was born 1961 in Kayonza District, Eastern Province. We were ten children, three girls and seven boys. My family was rich and we had a good life when I was young. What I liked about my childhood was conversing with my parents and siblings while we were together at home. My mother loved me and I loved her.

Picture courtesy of The Examiner

Picture courtesy of The Examiner

The first violence I experienced was in 1973. People came to my school and selected Tutsi pupils to be killed. After killing some of the students they threw them into a hole. I managed to escape by running and hiding in the bush. Because of the harassment, I stopped going to school and stayed at home.

In 1988, I got married to my first husband and was happy during that marriage, even though my husband had forced me to marry him. When the genocide happened, we had four children together.

During the genocide, my husband and children were killed, which made me a widow. The genocide came totally unexpectedly.
It was beyond my imagination that the Interahamwe could cut and kill so many. All of my siblings as well as my parents were
killed. I do not know where they threw their bodies. The most shocking thing for me was that my mother was killed by the beating from the Interahamwe who were brought to my mother by one of my sisters-in-law. That sister-in-law was Hutu. She is now imprisoned for the crimes she committed during the genocide. To continue reading Therese’s full story, click this link (opens as PDF)

To view the full list of stories, which will be updated every two weeks from April until July, please click this link.


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