We met Esther on an unexpected trip back to Kigali after the Kibuye commemoration.  We had been asked to look

into filming a story about a girl in the

southwest part of Rwanda who suffered a paralyzing injury in the genocide that requires specialized surgery

in Belgium.  A woman connected to the story gave us Esther’s phone number and we changed our itinerary to come back to Kigali and meet with her.  It’s a good thing we did.  Ester is a co-director of Avega, an organization for women widowed by the genocide with over 25,000 current members.  Esther began the movement immediately after the genocide in 1994 with a small group of women who needed each other’s support to face the horrors they had experienced.  Women in Avega share common stories of rape, extreme violence, and the loss of children, husbands, and other family members.  The organization registered with the government in 1995 and now includes services for both physical and psychological rehabilitation.  Esther is now re-married and living in Dusseldorf, Germany with her husband, but they plan to move back to Rwanda soon.  The top left photo is her first husband’s identity card, which labeled him as “Tutsi” and ultimately led to his death.

Clips from an Interview with Esther

     Avega headquarters in Kigali

                  April 14th, 2009