Rwanda 20 years: The story that almost got away

Rwanda 20 years: The story that almost got away | World Vision Blog

Juliette, genocide survivor, and Emmanuel, genocide participant, reconciled through World Vision's peace-building programs and have become friends. (Photo: 2007 Jon Warren/World Vision)

When writer Kari Costanza first went to Rwanda in 2007, she heard about an amazing story of reconciliation, but wasn't able to capture it. Last fall, she returned ... and the story found her!

Sometimes God shows you the story He wants told, often when you least expect it. Watch the story of friendship and redemption after the Rwanda genocide that He gave Kari a second chance to tell.


The first time I went to Rwanda, in 2007, I met Juliette and Emmanuel. I’d been asked to shoot a short video with two people who had reconciled after the genocide. We were so busy that we didn’t have much time to spend with them—just enough to know how powerful their story was.

Emmanuel told us that he’d been part of a group that killed most of Juliette’s family, but that the two had reconciled. Through the hardest times, World Vision child sponsorship had kept both families going. Juliette’s surviving daughter was sponsored and so were Emmanuel’s children, keeping the family afloat while he served time in prison.

We didn’t have time to tell their story properly. We barely scratched the surface. It had always bothered me. The story showed how sponsorship went beyond what you might expect—how sponsorship could even help heal a hurting heart.

This past September, I met a woman at Murambi, in southern Rwanda—the site of a massacre during the genocide. On the broad green fields of the vocational school, 50,000 Tutsis had been killed. A woman named Juliette was our guide. She told her harrowing story—how she was one of a handful of survivors. Afterward, we went to meet the man she had reconciled with at his nearby home.

The man was Emmanuel. I found myself sitting again with Juliette and Emmanuel. It was as if God had given me a second chance to tell their story. “I met you six years ago,” I told them. “I am so honored to see you again.” And so delighted to be able to share a story that willed itself to be told.

Be prepared to be awestruck … watch their story: 

Read the full, 20-year story of recovery and reconciliation in Rwanda and the part World Vision has played in the healing process in the World Vision Magazine.

Leave a Comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.