Anniversary of Rwandan Genocide, United Nations, April. 7, 2004
By: The Rwanda Project
Contact: Jenifer Howard 203-273-4246
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 childrens 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 childrens 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 Rwandas
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.