Rwanda: horror remains ten years on

 This month marked the ten-year anniversary of the Rwanda massacre, when around one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered during the genocide. The immediate horrors may now be a memory but the destruction and scars inflicted by the mass slaughter are still prominent and devastating. Christian Blind Mission has launched an urgent appeal for funds. The charity provide essential eye care work, treating tens of thousands of people struggling to live without essential limbs, and are also working with churches to provide facilities for orphans and those who lost friends and family. Two Catholic dioceses are working with CBM. In Kabgaye, volunteers are involved with an eye programme, and in Gatagara, they are working with the school for the blind and physical rehabilitation. Ten years ago 1.5 million people fled the conflict in Rwanda, to refugee camps in Goma on the northwest border, leaving behind their homeland, families, homes and livelihoods. CBM found adults and children whose bodies had been slashed by machetes, shattered by landmines and bullet wounds, who had broken or dismembered arms or legs. CBM was the only organisation on site able to provide orthopaedic trauma work. They set out to find people who had been injured, helping to take them to the surgical facilities that they were hurriedly building - where CBM surgeons and anaesthetists were starting to work on broken, lacerated and deformed bones. Bill McAllister, director CBM UK said: "CBM supports about 17 projects in the Great Lakes region (Rwanda, Burundi and Congo), treating the physical and mental affects of the genocide. It can be difficult to understand why there is still so much work to do now, ten years on but the realities are that hundreds of thousands of people were injured and we are still working day by day to help these people. I will never forget working with the victims of the massacre ten years ago. The children struck me in particular. They not only bear the scars of the machetes - but the emotional scars of war. I remember meeting one group of blind children. They had come from a school that CBM had been supporting. When the fighting broke out, their teacher had taken them by the hand and leading each other they had walked through the fighting, through the jungle and over the border to safety. They had led each other until they were safe. And that was my promise to the refugees. We would continue helping them: healing their wounds and rebuilding their bodies for as long as it would take". To support the CBM Rwanda Appeal visit:

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