The Powerful Story of Rwandan Camera Kids in Genocide


The 1994 Rwandan Genocide left many children orphans and homeless. It involved the bloody killing of the Tutsis by the Hutus that left the country in a sorry state. A group of three boys who survived the genocide tells their story of the ordeal. They were left amidst other young children at the mercies of an orphanage in Rwanda. Going by the names Bizimana Jean, Gadi Habumugisha, and Mussa Uwitonze, the three are using photography wisely. Through the cameras, they are teaching vulnerable children how to overcome the loss. The powerful story of Rwandan camera kids is winning the attention globally.

How did the three learn about cameras?

The three say that they had seen a camera before the genocide. However, they had not operated it. So, while at the Imbabazi orphanage where they grew up, they learned how to use one. In the year 2002, an American from Connecticut visited the orphanage. That’s how they could get an opportunity to use a camera. Through the ‘Through the Eyes of Children” program, David Jiranek could give the kid survivors a new hope at life. All the kids were taught how important it was to use photography to tell their stories. Eventually, this works of art would open them opportunities that would also help them give back to Rwanda. The powerful story of Rwandan camera kids is proof that art can be used to change perceptions about challenges and hardships.

Traveling throughout the world making an impact

Rwanda’s camera kids today travel throughout the world spreading their message. They inspire children going through loss and trauma to document their feelings in photography. In so doing, they can get distracted from their hardships and enjoy life. Recently while at Boston for this mission, the camera kids said that nothing gives them joy like seeing children get transformed through photography. Additionally, the three have received recognition from NGOs around the world. Therefore, they now partner with them to bring a change to their countries. This is a powerful story that helps children look beyond any loss that happens to them. It’s a mission to give hope that tomorrow holds better things.

The inspiration behind giving back

While at the orphanage growing up, the founder Rosamond Carr would give them gifts on Christmas. Then she would ask them if they ever gave someone a gift. These words have always spurred the spirit of giving back in them. Rosamond Carr had stayed in Rwanda for 34 years before the genocide happened. She owned a flower farm that was a source of livelihood for the locals. She also gave them medicine. So, when the genocide happened, some Tutsis came to hide there. On finding out, the perpetrators invaded her premises. Thus, she needed to evacuate them for her own safety. Later on, she would be left under the care of their young children. She brought them up with love and all of them believe she was their mother. This powerful story of Rwandan camera kids is a lesson that resilience is needed even during challenges.

The dreams for the camera kids

The camera kids believe that they can inspire a generation through photography. Hence, they teach young kids how to use cameras to capture different events. Therefore, these photos can serve as memories that life is a beautiful thing. Using support from not for profit organizations, the group can reach out to more children suffering losses. Through their art, they can help change their perception of bad experiences. The foundation ‘Through the Eyes of Children’ hopes to spread its wings globally.


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