A group of World Dancers enjoyed a very special opportunity to talk about Rwanda with genocide survivor Frederick Ndabaramiye in a small, intimate setting. The visit was made possible by Carola Smith, Director of International Programs at Santa Barbara City College. Frederick told us his story, and how the horrors he experienced, and his miraculous survival, inspired him to devote his life to helping his fellow Rwandans. We talked about the situation in Rwanda, and the desire people have to create a new Rwanda based on an extraordinary model of reconciliation. We have seen this ourselves in the cooperatives we work in composed of Hutus, Tutsi, and Twa (Pygmies) living and working together – overcoming some of the most brutal crimes against humanity that the world has ever seen. We talked with Frederick about our own work in Rwanda, and the power of standing with the communities we serve to help them create a sustainable future.
We hope to visit the Ubumwe Community Center he founded with Zachary Dusingizimana in the northwest during our next Rwanda visit —and take part of their dance therapy work!
Read Frederick’s story in the Independent
He has recently told his story in Frederick: A Story of Boundless Hope
I am simply a Rwandan—one of millions with harrowing stories to tell. More than that, I am a survivor, one whose tragedy has propelled me into a man I could never have been otherwise. Whatever the circumstances, I believe—I know—survival makes us stronger. Survival makes us smarter. Survival provides a unique fuel for our passion for life….. I found out when you forgive, that’s where you get medicine. When you don’t forgive, you’re still tied to someone who has done bad things for you. Forgiveness is a key of life and the only way to help people be strong. Now I’m powerful that I can forgive.