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Morehouse College

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

Rwanda: Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding


Recent estimates report that there are approximately 145 million children worldwide who have lost at least one parent as a result of various causes (Development, 2008). Parental death is one of the most traumatic events that can occur in childhood (Haine, 2006). Literature has also indicated that parental death places children at risk for many negative outcomes, including mental health problems, grief, lower academic success, self-esteem, and greater external locus of control (Lutzke, 1997). Between April and July 1994, 800,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans died in the 1994 genocide against Tutsis. Because of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis, nearly 75,000 children became orphaned and nearly 300,000 live in a child-head household (Fund S. S., 2007). However, Rwanda has been able to transform into a model country of peace and reconciliation by implementing country security, economic development and group trauma counseling. However, no substantial research has been published on the individual coping strategies implemented by the orphans of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis. This research analyze the individual positive coping strategies the orphans of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis used during bereavement to cope and become progressive members of Rwanda society. Using a qualitative narrative analysis, I interviewed ten genocide orphans discussing their past life, psychosocial health and current outlook on life. The research concluded that the survivors implemented self-expression, purpose-making, education, spirituality and remembrance to heal from their experience and move forward.


Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Place and Environment | Race and Ethnicity | Social Psychology and Interaction


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