Rwanda: Bringing Peace and Healing to Rwandans Through Community-Based Sociotheraphy

Dr Chantal Ingabire is a senior researcher and a lecturer at the University of Rwanda.
30 August 2019
interview

AllAfrica speaks to a senior researcher for Community Based Sociotherapy in Rwanda and a lecturer at the University of Rwanda, Dr Chantal Ingabire. Ingabire has done extensive and diverse health research and is currently working with communities in Rwanda in interlinkage between mental health, psycho-social support, and peacebuilding processes in post-genocide Rwanda with a particular emphasis on youth.

My name is Chantal Ingabire, I work for a location organisation that is working on the field of psycho-social support that is working for peacebuilding. I am a medical Anthropologist by profession. What were are trying to do is to ensure that we promote the healing of the Rwandan population in the aftermath of the genocide but also to promote social cohesion and well as reconciliation on peacebuilding.

We do so by bringing people in the communities together to share their past experiences related to the genocide but also to learn from each other and also to make sure that they are supporting each other. Most of the of our group members have been mainly the the old population that went through the genocide, basically genocide survivors, perpetrators and their families. Through the discussion that we have been having with them we realised that the young generation or those born after the genocide took place are also being affected by what happened in Rwanda. Now the interest is to understand how they are being affected and how this is impacting their everyday lives in terms of their psychological well being but also in terms of their social relationships with their peers.

My interest is to see how we can bridge this gap between the generations to ensure that  there is a intergenerational dialogue to ensure that we are breaking even there cycle of violence to by ensuring that the two generations are coming together by sharing their past experiences and that they are also promoting peace to ensure that the country's future is peaceful.

What we know is that the long-term effects of the conflict of the genocide are really taking so long to heal from generation to generation and what we have realised is It's not only those who have gone through genocide are suffering from the long-term effect but also the Next generations suffer too. The young generation also expressed feelings of fear, feeling betrayed and feelings of guilt, even shame because of what their parents did. If you don't make sure that people are coming into terms with these kinds of negative feelings then there is no way that you can talk about sustainable peace meaning we have to create those safe spaces in which people can express their feelings so that they can be heard and also heal and be able to engage positively in the construction of the country towards a peaceful future.

allAfrica.com's reporting on peacebuilding is supported by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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