Project Background

In late 2011, staff from the USF Holocaust and Genocide Studies Center (HGSC) visited Rwanda and Burundi to explore partnership opportunities with local institutions that deal with genocide and its aftermath in these two countries. Several potential partners were identified, including IBUKA, an umbrella organization for Rwanda genocide survivor groups. In September 2012, a partnership between the University of South Florida and IBUKA was established to digitize the rare and unique primary materials that are held at IBUKA in Kigali, Rwanda. In fall of 2012, the HGSC librarian traveled back to Rwanda to begin the digitization work. Using a Kodak digital SLR camera, almost 20,000 pages were digitized during that five-week visit, half of which were handwritten testimonies by Rwandan school children who survived the 1994 genocide.

About the Testimonies

IBUKA organized ingando (solidarity camps) on a regular basis to bring together survivors of the 1994 Rwanda genocide to discuss issues affecting them and for IBUKA to update them on its activities. In one ingando in late 1999, IBUKA brought together almost 1,000 genocide survivors who were attending secondary school at the time and were from Gitarama Prefecture. After the camp, IBUKA asked the students to document in their own handwriting what they went through during the 1994 genocide. Collecting testimonies of children from Gitarama prefecture was meaningful because the killing of Tutsis and moderate Hutus was very intense in this prefecture.