Press Release: The Southwest Florida Holocaust Museum, January 2-30, 2005

Prepared By: The Rwanda Project
Contact: Jenifer Howard 203-273-4246

For Immediate Release

(NEW YORK, N.Y., December 31, 2004) – A unique photography exhibition of photographs taken by children in Rwanda, Through the Eyes of Children: The Rwanda Project, will be shown at the Southwest Florida Holocaust Museum in Naples, Fla., January 2 through January 30, 2005. The exhibition will be in conjunction with the Southwest Florida Holocaust Museum’s annual fundraising program in its efforts to promote tolerance entitled “Fighting Hate, Across Cultures and Generations.” The photography exhibition, Through the Eyes of Children, is available for viewing Tuesday through Friday, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., and Sundays, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. The Southwest Florida Holocaust Museum is located at 4760 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 7, Sandalwood Square, Naples, Fla. For more information on the museum exhibition, call 239-263-9200. For more information on Through the Eyes of Children: The Rwanda Project, visit

Through the Eyes of Children: The Rwanda Project, is the culmination of four years of photographic workshops for the children living at the Imbabazi Orphanage in Gisenyi, Rwanda. A dedicated group of Americans have been traveling to Rwanda to teach the children photography skills; now the children’s work is being shown in a world-wide exhibit that showcases the children’s lives today, as seen through their own eyes. The exhibit, which has been shown at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda, the U.S. Senate Building in Washington, D.C., and in exhibits in France, Sweden and Canada, and was showcased at the United Nations in April 2004 to mark ten years after the genocide, and most recently at the New York premiere of the movie “Hotel Rwanda.” The exhibition is traveling throughout the United States in 2005. Exhibitions this year are planned at: the Southwest Florida Holocaust Museum in Naples, Fla., January 2 through January 30, 2005; the San Francisco University High School, January 14 through February 25, 2005; The Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Brooklyn, N.Y., January 15 through March 27, 2005; The University of Miami, January 18 through February 12, 2005; Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Ga., February 10 through March 18, 2005; in Tarifa, Spain, May 8 through 15, and the Pepsico Theater at the State University of New York, Purchase, December 23, 2005.

Many of the children that participate in the “Through the Eyes of Children” photography project are both Hutu and Tutsi and were injured and orphaned by the 1994 genocide. Today, almost 11 years after the genocide, images continue to play a key part in our memory of the injustices that occurred. Not only has photography served as a major strategy for documenting the atrocity, but it has also been used as a way to reunite children with their families. However, the power of the camera has rarely been in the hands of those affected the most. While many now know about the genocide, most do not fully understand its magnitude. In a mere 100 days while the world (today's modern-day world) stood by, more than 800,000 people were killed. The slaughter of civilians by civilians occurred at a rate of 3-to-4 times that of the Holocaust and resulted in millions of refugees and orphaned children.

"Through the Eyes of Children" was conceived by photographer David Jiranek and began as a photographic workshop in 2000 that was inspired by and centered on the importance of the children’s perspective and experience. Given disposable cameras, the children, ranging in ages from eight to eighteen, began photographing themselves and their community. The resulting photographs are nothing short of extraordinary (see to view the photographs). A photograph by 8-year-old Jacqueline entitled "Gadi" won "First Prize - Portraiture" in the 2001 Camera Arts Magazine Photo Contest (in the adult category). Today, the children’s work is traveling around the world in this exhibition that provides a unique look at Rwanda and at the lives of the children affected by the genocide, almost 11 years later. The goal of this project is share with the world the perspective of the children, to provide an opportunity to reflect on the tragedy of the genocide by observing life today through the eyes of Rwanda’s children. Additionally, the project aims to demonstrate to the children of the Imbabazi Orphanage that they have something to share with the world that is meaningful. Through the sale of their photographs, the children receive that message, as well as the means to continue their photography and their education.

“The reception of the children’s photographs by the world community has been nothing short of astounding,” said Joanne McKinney, one of the project’s coordinators. McKinney noted that on their last trip to Rwanda, the group took newspaper articles and videos of television coverage the exhibition has generated in the United States and the children at the Imbabazi Orphanage were beyond excitement with the realization that people around the world appreciated and cared about their photos. Prints of the children’s work is also available for sale, via tax deductible donations to the organization, where the proceeds go back to the children at the Imbabazi Orphanage to help provide for their education and future when they leave the orphanage and are on their own at age 18.

To learn more about The Rwanda Project, view the exhibition schedule, see examples of the children's work, or to make a donation, visit