Press Release: 10th Anniversary of Rwandan Genocide, United Nations, April. 7, 2004

Prepared By: The Rwanda Project
www.rwandaproject.org
Contact: Jenifer Howard 203-273-4246
jhoward1@optonline.net

For Immediate Release

"THROUGH THE EYES OF CHILDREN: THE RWANDA PROJECT
FOUNDED BY OLD GREENWICH RESIDENT SHOWN AT THE UNITED NATIONS
IN MEMORY OF 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF RWANDAN GENOCIDE


(NEW YORK, N.Y., April 13, 2004) -- Wednesday, April 7, 2004, marked ten years to the day of the start of the genocide in the tiny African country of Rwanda. 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. In remembrance of the tenth anniversary of the genocide, the United Nations hosted a Day of International Reflection on Wednesday, April 7, 2004. As part of the remembrance, reflection and recognition, the United Nations also hosted a special reception for the photographic exhibition that was on display at the UN entitled Through the Eyes of Children: The Rwanda Project, that was founded by the late Old Greenwich, Conn., resident and photographer, David Jiranek. Several hundred invited guests attended the reception and guest speakers included Olara Otunnu - Undersecretary General of the United Nations, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict; Ambassador Stanislas Kamanzi - Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations; Jacqueline Murekatete - 19 year-old Rwandan genocide survivor; and Joanne McKinney - Project Coordinator for Through the Eyes of Children and an Old Greenwich resident.

Through the Eyes of Children: The Rwanda Project, is an exhibition of photographs taken by orphans of the Rwandan genocide that are culmination of four years of photographic workshops for the children living at the Imbabazi Orphanage in Gisenyi, Rwanda. Many of the children, both Hutu and Tutsi, were injured and orphaned by the 1994 genocide. Today, ten 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.

The Rwanda Project "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 stunning (see www.RwandaProject.org 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, ten 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. To learn more about The Rwanda Project and to see examples of the children's work that was on display at The United Nations, visit www.rwandaproject.org.



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