Blandine's Story – Empowered in the Midst of Terror
After the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Blandine, a Hutu woman, lived within a ravaged community in northern Rwanda consisting of makeshift mud huts and tarpaulins. She was always terrified and exhausted.
The women of Blandine's village would leave their huts at 5am, often carrying children and a 20 litre plastic can, to walk 18km to the nearest lake to fetch contaminated water with which to cook and wash. They would return by 1 or 2pm, too exhausted to do any of their traditional farming duties, and sometimes broken by attacks and rapes on the way.
Blandine had heard of a training course being offered by Tearfund’s partner, Moucecore. It was being offered to all church community members to help them engage with inner personal healing and corporate transformation. In 2001, she was the only one who decided to do the training.
She experienced a profound inner spiritual shift, went back to her community and began to engage with her family and people in a new way. She gathered a group of other Hutu women around her and shared the training with them, helping them engage with issues that the training brought to light. From this, they formed the first community Solidarity Transformation Group (STG).