Tubahumurize Association’s Founder and Program Coordinator, Jeanne Mwiliriza, was invited to attend this week’s National Trauma Symposium in Kigali, Rwanda. Taking place 25 years after the Rwanda genocide against the Tutsi, the symposium centered around the theme of “embracing trauma management from grassroot initiatives to institutional interventions.” Over 200 people gathered at the Kigali Marriott to talk about the increasing need for mental health services in Rwanda.
Moving testimonies were shared by genocide survivors and children born of wartime rape.
Participants shared their experiences, fears and dreams with respect to the management of continued trauma in Rwanda. Jeanne described how Tubahumurize has witnessed an increased demand for trauma counselling and how this year’s release of 8000 prisoners (who were sentenced to 25 years in prison following the genocide against the Tutsi) has triggered trauma for many of Tubahumurize’s beneficiaries.
Symposium attendees discussed the continued manifestation of trauma in their communities as well as the prevalence of domestic abuse and substance abuse. Panel members concluded that more mental health clinics are needed in Rwanda and emphasized the importance of destigmatization with the slogan Let’s talk about #MentalHealth. The symposium called for everyone to participate in the reintegration, reconciliation and support for people at the margins of society.