From the recent history France has been accused of masterminding the plans which led to the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi and shielding the perpetrators.
The young generation from both countries which have no direct links with this history have come out to re-write their own history through community outreach programs guided by global rules and regulations of scouting movement.
Through an outreach programme to be conducted by the first French volunteers with Le Service Civique (Civic Service), an organization of French citizens aimed at inculcating civic education among the youth, two teams of French scout will this summer (July) come to Rwanda to work on two community projects.
The projects include renovation of the Rwanda Scouts Association headquarters in Nyamirambo and working with children suffering from autism and living at “Autism Rwanda” center in Kigali.
Autism disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by social impairment, communication disorders and repetitive or unusual behavior. It’s a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact which cannot be easily detected at a young age.
Guillaume Aghroum, the first French scout volunteer in Rwanda with Service Civique told KT Press on Thursday, that the main objective will be for both scouts to learn from each other but most importantly build solidarity.
“I think it’s a good message of peace and reconciliation between our two countries: France and Rwanda: the youth are the ones who should spread messages of peace and tolerance,” said Aghroum.
Before 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda and France scout associations had a profound exchange programme which benefited Rwandan scouts in training and skills development and French Scouts gaining life experiences in Rwanda.
This agenda was halted at the dawn of the Genocide. However, the Rwanda and French associations are now determined to rejuvenate this exchange programme with an intention to reconcile both communities.
Viateur Rucyahana, the Rwanda Scouts commissioner for youth programme and adult training said that this exchange programme and working together will open new windows to how each community perceives the other.
“Many people don’t know that reality of what happened, but with working together, will enable the French to start learning and understanding the good and bad things, the true and reality in Rwanda,” Rucyana said.
Rucyahana said that in the exchange programme, the Rwandan scouts will focus on educating the visiting French scout leader, the parents of scouts and facilitate visits to Genocide memorial sites and discussion on the subject of genocide to have a clear understanding.