Hope Global Blog

Rwanda: 20 Years On

The HOPE Team - Thursday, April 17, 2014


The time has come to embark on a journey that has been dreamed about, talked about and planned for over eighteen months. From office discussions and imagining about what would 2014 look like, to the reality that tomorrow, a team of 19 volunteers from Australia, South African and Canada, to be followed by a further 7 volunteers currently in Uganda as well as HOPE: Global's founder Mark Zschech, will board a plane to Rwanda for a trip that will never be forgotten. 

Our Story

For HOPE: Global, 2014 marks 10 years since Mark and Darlene Zschech first visited Rwanda and first answered the call to serve their Rwandan brothers and sisters, beginning with the '100 Days of Hope' in 2006. The result today? 8 years of partnering with Rwanda and serving alongside them to help achieve the vision of so many incredible people. 8 years of testimonies and stories, of successes, of lives being changed forever and generations impacted. 8 years of HOPE being carried into this beautiful country. This will be a significant trip for all of us attending and we are looking forward to the journey that lies ahead.

Above: Mark and Darlene Zschech at the closing ceremony of 'Hope Rwanda: 100 Days of Hope' in 2006.

The Genocide

2014 marks 20 years since the Rwandan genocide of 1994, where nearly 1 million men, women and children were killed. The tragic event of the genocide against the Tutsis affected every person. It was a time of harsh suffering that should never be forgotten. Emerging from the devastation though, is the remarkable story of resilience, hope and life of the Rwandan people. And it is time. Time to celebrate, time to thank God and acknowledge the restoration and look toward a bright future full of hope.

Above: Photos of victims on display at the Genocide Memorial in Kigali

The Walk - A Celebration of Resilience, Hope and Life

An incredible team of volunteers, most of whom have never visited Rwanda before, will be taking part in a significant event, the Rwandan Walk of Hope. This walk aims to remember and reflect, but more importantly, to celebrate Rwanda's progress and look forward to the future. Our team will join with Rwandans and walk side by side from some very significant points across Kigali, Rwanda's capital. Our team will be walking from the site of the plane crash. This site represents the spark that started the genocide. It is here that the President's plane was shot down on that fateful night, 6th of April 1994. By the next morning, orders had gone and the genocide was underway. As we move away from the past, we'll embark on a united journey together, walking towards Amahoro Stadium, a place of safe haven for so many during the genocide, a place where many Rwandans took shelter and survived. Together, we'll finish with a ceremony to celebrate Rwanda, its people and its spirit, and all that has been achieved in this beautiful nation.

The Team

We have an amazing group of volunteers who are making the journey with us. From all walks of life, from all over Australian and even abroad, this team are dedicated and ready! Here are just a few of our volunteers and the reasons they joined this trip and what they are expecting:

  • Larry and Debbie are expecting this trip to 'be an amazing God adventure... to be a life changing experience' as well as 'looking forward to meeting with the Rwandan people and serving with an amazing group of people'
  • Kelly-Anne is excited to visit the Village of Hope in particular. In fact, Kelly-Anne, along with a host of others, was the mastermind behind the Midsummer Night's Ball back in January, which raised over $10,000 for the Village! Aside from that Kelly-Anne has young children herself and is looking forward the Early Childhood Teacher training, as she 'sees the education programs we are volunteering at as invaluable and an honour to be part of'
  • Kay has previously visited Uganda, but three years on, felt herself drawn to the Rwanda Walk of Hope and couldn't apply fast enough!
  • For Anneke, this will be her second trip to Rwanda, and she 'cannot wait to make the connections with the beautiful people and projects much deeper'
  • Kate is also a returning volunteer, she found that Rwanda 'filled my soul and got under my skin! There are no smiles in the world bigger than those Rwandese who, after all the trauma and tragedy in their lives, can call their children Happiness, Innocent and Angel!'
  • Janine is someone with a heart for mission work and has long dreamed of going to Africa, in fact, for 20 years! She can't wait to 'experience all that it has to offer and give back in return'
  • Annika is one of our international volunteers, living in South Africa and for some reason, Rwanda has always had a special place in her heart. After being briefed about what she would be involved with during her time there, Annika said it made her 'jump out of her skin with excitement, this is what I have a passion for'

For others, it was simply a case of the right time, right place and a step of faith, not knowing exactly why they were meant to go, but knowing they had to. 

For all of our incredible team, it is a step of faith and one that will not go unrewarded. 

Above: Just a few of our incredible team of volunteers

We can't wait to share the stories with you as the next couple of weeks unfold as we join with Rwanda in a celebration of resilience, hope and life.