My dear friends and family, as many of you know, I am completing my Masters in Human Rights and Social Justice at George Mason University. I have encountered a great opportunity to study abroad which will give me credits needed to complete my degree. The trip will be from 12/30/18 to 1/12/2019 and I would be traveling to the devastated country of Rwanda. In addition to the class, my studies will be focusing on researching elderly victims who survived the Rwanda Genocide in 1994. The people of Rwanda experienced the most horrific killings among two tribes. The Rwandan government estimated the number of victims of the genocide to be 1,070,014 in 100 days. I will research how the population over 65, many who lost their spouses and children during the genocide, are now leaving, what their coping mechanisms are, and what kind of government assistance (if any) they receive. The data collected will be the basis for my thesis.
Why Rwanda you might ask? In the process of doing my research, I came across many details related to the genocide. It makes me very sad to know that a big percentage of the survivors are elderly now and they are probably very alone. I want to see their situation for myself. I am hoping that my thesis will shed some light on their conditions and perhaps once I publish my thesis an increased awareness will result in additional assistance to them.
As a graduate student, I am not eligible for financial aid to study abroad. My trip total is almost $6000. This will cover the tuition for the class, airfare, accommodations and food. I am actively saving and will be able to pay for about half of my trip but need help raising the rest. Please help me meet my goal by 10/31/2018. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
The below is taken from the class syllabus so that you better understand what we will be accomplishing over there:
Rwanda is positioned as one of the most stable and progressive countries in Eastern Africa. However, the mass genocide that occurred in 1994 is arguably one of the worst forms of human atrocity known to the world, killing almost a million people within the span of 3 months. How Rwanda has recovered from the aftermath of tragedy through the country’s progress, development, and challenges it continues to face is what this study abroad program focuses on. What can Rwandans teach the world about healing, reconciliation, and forgiveness? How are socio-cultural, economic, and political mechanisms making this possible? What role do Gacaca court, individual citizens, the central government and NGOs of Rwanda, including the international community play in bringing about individual and societal change and transformation? What are its challenges moving forward? This course highlights the following competencies: global awareness/ understanding, group collaboration, critical and reflective thinking, communication (oral and written), civic engagement, and wellbeing.
Know and understand the socio-historical development of Rwanda.
Realize and understand the complexity of the mass genocide in 1994 and its impact on people and society.
Explore concrete mechanisms that Rwanda: central government and community-based organizations have undertaken toward healing and the rebuilding of the nation.
Learn about the nature and dynamics of healing, reconciliation, and forgiveness from Rwandan perspective; and hear individual and collective narratives based on personal and communal experiences and processes of reconciliation and forgiveness.
Experience first-hand Rwanda today as one of the most stable, progressive, and peaceful countries in Eastern Africa.
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