The Texas Christian University (TCU) has awarded Rwanda’s Godeliève Mukasarasi, the honorary doctorate for her contribution in rebuilding the Rwanda’s social fabric that was torn apart by the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
She accepted the award on the occasion of 150 year anniversary of the school, which also coincided with the graduation of nearly 1000 students.
Mukasarasi, a social worker, genocide survivor, and rural development activist is founder of SEVOTA, a 29 year old organisation that was founded in the direct Genocide aftermath.
Sevota works to rebuild the human relationships that were destroyed during the genocide in Rwanda, with a focus on women and children.
The women who were raped during the Genocide and the children who were born from this unwanted pregnancy find solace in Sevota through psychological and where possible, material support.
Speaking to KT Press, Mukasarasi said that her name reached TCU following a video documentary, the uncondemned in 2016 by one Michèle Mitchel.
The documentary revolved around the rape as a crime against humanity, and the people who fought to have it known at the International Criminal Court(ICC) mainly following the testimonies of a couple of women at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda(ICTR).
The women were able to give such testimonies following the counseling of Sevota.
The film itself was sponsored by TCU and premiered in Rwanda afterwards. Back in the United States, the premiering also took place in New York where Mukasarasi was invited to speak with fellow women who share the burden to support the vulnerable women and their children.
“We were also invited to speak at the Texas University, myself and the three women who were raised by Sevota and dared to speak about the evil that were done against them,” she said.
“The university was impressed by our modal of rehabilitating the vulnerable women through cultural dance and counseling. They were interested in Sevota, they visited us and celebrated our 25th anniversary with us, back in 2020,” she said.
Mukasarasi said that they visited their activities, heard Sevota’s success stories and met the beneficiaries face to face and loved it a lot.
“They got much more interested with Sevota and with myself, thus the honorary doctorate,” she said. I went to accept it on May 13.”
Mukasarasi said, that she received the award with excitement, but she was more pleased with the fact that the efforts to promote Rwandan women are being rewarded.
In some instances, Mukasarasi is invited as guest lecturer at the TCU.
Rwanda Peace Institute by Sevota in the offing
In the future, Sevota and the Texas Christian University will see their ties even more strengthened.
According to Mukasarasi, the University is a key partner in the upcoming Rwanda Peace institute under construction in Kamonyi district, Southern Province which is expected to be completed at a cost of approximately Rwf 400 million.
“In the centre, we shall have a part of the youth who were healed from the wounds of the Genocide, and will teach the world. We shall also have a museum for women who experienced rape but got healed and can now speak to the world,” she said.
“The centre that will be built on 25 hectares, will have a section of medicinal plants, especially those that can heal stress, and then a tourists’ corner.”
The centre that could be completed in two years will offer internship for the schools and renown institutions that offer training in peace programs.
Mukasarasi becomes the first african to be awarded the honorary doctorate at the Texas Christian University.