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Rwandan Genocide - 20 Year Commemorative

By Diane Ferguson

Petronire, Opportunity International Microfinance Client

Remembering Tragedy

Twenty years ago, from April to July 1994, genocide tore through Rwanda as ordinary citizens took up arms against their friend, family and neighbor. By early July, as many as 800,000 were brutally murdered and two million displaced - a humanitarian crisis with consequences certain to span generations.

A nation heals: Opportunity in Rwanda

Opportunity Rwanda opened its doors to welcome impoverished and displaced families with open arms in Kigali in 2007. Recently named a top-running bank by the National Bank of Rwanda, Opportunity Rwanda has achieved steady growth in all areas of outreach, living up to its name, Banki ya Bose, or Bank for All. The bank serves resourceful entrepreneurs including countless genocide survivors and displaced individuals like Petronire via 44 branch offices. It is with faith and prayer that survivors piece their lives together to achieve reconciliation. Petronire, whose story is marked with both suffering and triumph, has paved a way for compassion and mercy through forgiveness and reconciliation.

Embracing healing: From access comes success

Since the genocide that ripped Rwanda apart 20 years ago, the country is rebuilding on the strength of its people, women like Petronire (pictured above). After witnessing the murder of her first husband, her children were lost, scattered among the refugees. Violently widowed a second time, she fled her destroyed home with her baby on her back, her body and spirit broken. Eventually, Petronire found strength to return to her community. Reunited with her children, she sewed school uniforms to feed the family. The years were hard. Then, she discovered Opportunity. She has invested five loans in her sewing business and small farm plot, built rooms to rent and put a solid roof on her home. Petronire is not just a survivor; she is a beacon of hope for her children, her fellow Trust Group members and her community.

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