The Rwanda Genocide: 25 years on

Four decades of questionable politics and simmering tension between Rwanda’s Tutsi and Hutu tribes, culminated in an implosion of violence in April 1994. This resulted in 800,000 people being killed in 100 days. Thankfully, over time, hostility and mistrust have been replaced with forgiveness, reconciliation and recovery.

The Genocide


World Vision begins relief and development work in war-ravaged Rwanda immediately after the bloodshed in April 1994, initially distributing crucial relief supplies.

World Vision also concentrated its efforts on the many vulnerable children separated from their parents. There were also many orphans. Some were babies that had been left alone for many days, hidden in the bushes by their parents so they wouldn’t be killed. The search to locate parents or surviving relatives began in earnest.

The Rwandan Genocide was the worst of times. But amidst all the intense suffering, little miracles occurred.

- Margaret Spencer, World Vision

"Being part of a World Vision tracing team helping reunite lost children with their families after they’d spent up to two years alone in refugee camps is something forever etched in my memory. Watching mothers and grandmothers wrap their arms around their beloved children who they thought were dead were moments of pure and absolute joy”.

Margaret Spencer, World Vision



By 1996 World Vision had identified the desperate need for reconciliation and peacebuilding programs, as thousands of families began to return to their villages.

Josephine Munyeli, a World Vision specialist for healing, peace building, and reconciliation recalls,  “If we were to do development work straightaway when people had not yet dealt with their painful past, we would be heading nowhere. People carrying deep pain cannot be productive.”

 Deeply traumatised children affected by the violence they had seen, or the loss of their parents, clearly needed psychological support.



By 2000, the need for long-term, child-focused and community-based development had become increasingly important.  Damaged houses and schools were rebuilt, along with terracing hillsides to aid farming. Families whose homes had been destroyed continued to need shelter, along with the widespread need for clothing and food.

2000 also saw World Vision commence the Nyamagabe and Mudasomwa development projects, focusing on water, sanitation, health, education and economic development.

To date, these development projects have achieved:

  • An average attendance rate of 98 percent in primary education, with school enrolment consistently above 90 percent. Community volunteers were engaged to report on any health issues of sponsored children, and school attendance.
  •  In 2016, 89 percent of Nyamagabe Area Programme’s 4,712 Registered Children were sponsored, ensuring these children are able to complete their studies, as well as have their other key needs met.
Health & sanitation
  • 98.9 percent of women in Mudasomwa delivered their babies at a health facility, meaning fewer infant deaths for children under five, and an opportunity to monitor, prevent, and appropriately handle any birth complications.
  • Families have been taught about health, nutrition, and hygiene practices to ensure that economic gains are translated into better care for their children.
  • World Vision partnered with Nyamagabe District to give an estimated 75 percent of households access to clean water.
Child protection
  • In the Mudasomwa area, 99 percent of community members who are now able to identify and report a case of child abuse.

Sponsor a child

Twenty five years on, World Vision is still committed to helping Rwanda recover and overcome. And you can be part of this change! Sponsor a vulnerable child in Rwanda today and help transform their life for good, as well as contribute to transforming their community. Learn more.

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