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Mercer University Empowers Rwanda Genocide Survivors

by Daniel Sabiiti
10:59 pm

In a bid to improve lives of genocide survivors, Mercer University from US has committed to empowering members of the Rwanda Graduate Genocide Survivors Organisation (GAERG) with entrepreneurship and business skills as well as Mental Health.

The announcement was made by Dr David Lane, Professor of Counseling at Mercer University during a series of weekly Executive Capacity Building Workshop for GAERG leaders, staff and members on Mental Health and Business related courses that started on May 23 and will run through June 2, 2022.

The training is a product of several years of collaboration between the university and GAERG under the “Mercer On Mission” project initiated in 2014 by Dr. Etienne Musonera, Rwandan Professor of Marketing in the Stetson-Hatcher School of Business at Mercer University.

The training sessions, conducted by a team of 50 visiting Mercer University students and lecturers were characterized by intensive group discussions, presentations, and ways of managing their mental health and implementing their business projects.

Dr. Lane told KTPress that the two factors (Mental Health & Business skills) are a vital combination for genocide survivors to get equipped with so as to remain resilient 28 years after the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.

“We are excited to be able to share our expertise with our Rwandan friends. This training will enable genocide survivor to remain relevant and resilient,” Dr. Lane said.

On Entrepreneurship and Businesses, the trainees engaged in learning how they can engage and promote their projects by planning it, before they start to run the project

In the Mental Health training room, trainees exchanged ideas, their lifestyle and everyone is sharing things that make them happy and angry as one of the way of overcoming problems concerning Mental Health.

“We have come to Rwanda at the invitation of GAERG to help train people to overcome trauma. We are using a model that can help not only the survivors but also the second generation of people who were not yet born in 1994,” Lane said.

Dr. Etienne Musonera, the Rwandan behind this project said that the project has previously worked with other organizations like Association of Genocide Widows Agahozo (AVEGA) and it continues working with GAERG members for the next three years.

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