Posts Tagged ‘ Africa ’

Genocide Survivors Form Young Adult ‘Families’

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

A growing number of young survivors of genocides in Rwanda and other nations are connecting as “artificial families” as a way to cope with and process all they’ve been through.  CNN has more:

On a grassy knoll behind an office block, Jean Claude Nkusi is giving his 24 children a talking to. “Study hard everyone,” he says. “If you work hard you can improve your life and make it better.”

This isn’t your typical family. Nkusi is 23. None of his “children” share his DNA. In fact, the only thing linking them is that they’re all genocide survivors — ethnic Rwandan Tutsis who lost their families in the 1994 violence that killed 800,000 people.

Creating “artificial families” to help young genocide survivors cope is the brainchild of an organization called the Association for Student Genocide Survivors (AERG). Originally founded by 12 University of Rwanda students in 1996, they’ve expanded to 43,397 university and high school students from across the tiny east-central African country today.

AERG initially creates families from members based on the secondary school or university they attend, after which the newly-formed family meet to democratically elect a willing father and mother from among their ranks. Though they don’t all live together, they do help each other out financially and attempt to pool their resources.

In the University of Rwanda’s College of Education alone there are 21 such families, with hundreds more being set up across the country.

“(We) Rwandans, we used to have big families but during the genocide many people were killed,” says Daniel Tuyizere, AERG’s second vice coordinator at the University of Rwanda.

“To fight against that, we have to build artificial families so that we can go back to the way we were,” he adds. “That’s why you can find a father with 25 children — it’s because of that, it’s because of history.”

Image: Holding hands, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Potential Malaria Vaccine Disappoints in New Trial

Friday, November 9th, 2012

A recent clinical trial involving African infants ages 6–12 weeks revealed that a potential malaria vaccine was only 30% effective in reducing episodes of the disease, Reuters reports. The mosquito-borne illness infected about 216 million people worldwide in 2010. Other control measures such as insecticide-treated bug netting have decreased malaria-related deaths in recent years, and scientists hoped that the vaccine, known as RTS,S or Mosquirix, would continue to cut infection and mortality rates. Philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates helped fund the development, and calls for further research. If effective, the vaccine would likely be added to routine infant immunizations in the most-impacted countries.

Image: Newborn via Shutterstock. 

Add a Comment