The Children of The Rwandan Genocide: 20 Years On

To mark the 20th anniversary of the genocide, Save the Children has reopened an archive of over 8,000 Polaroids gathered during the Rwandan genocide.

Nearly 1 million Rwandans were killed in 100 days of genocide in 1994.

The massacre destroyed the country’s infrastructure and left it with the highest proportion of orphans in the world.

Save the Children collected these photos of children separated from their parents during the conflict and took them from village to village, looking for family members who would recognise their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, brothers, and sisters. They helped reunite 40,000 children with their families.

The charity has reconnected with two sets of siblings who were helped in the aftermath of the genocide. Read their stories below.

2. Gloriose, 1995.

Colin Crowley/Save the Children

Gloriose was 5 years old when her parents were killed in the genocide. Her older brothers Flodouard and Cyprien carried her off with them and hid with her until they were discovered by the advancing rebel forces that entered the country to combat the perpetrators of the genocide. Gloriose and her brothers were taken to an orphanage in Byumba. Save the Children reunited them with a paternal uncle.

Several years later Gloriose went to back to live in the village in the Rutongo district where the family is from with her brother Flodouard, who had built a house and established a small farm so he could raise his two younger siblings as a family.

Gloriose is currently studying crop science at the University of Rwanda’s College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine in Busogo. Her dream is to complete a master’s degree and have a career that will allow her to take care of her older brothers and pay the school fees for her nieces and nephews.

3. This is Gloriose today, aged 25.

Colin Crowley/Save the Children

4. Floduard, 1995.

Colin Crowley/Save the Children

After witnessing his parents being killed in the first days of the genocide in the village of Jali, Flodouard collected his younger siblings, Cyprien and Gloriose, and fled with them to save their lives. They were picked up by the advancing rebel forces.

After tracing the children’s known relatives, Save the Children reunited the siblings with a paternal uncle and returned them to their home village of Jali. When Flodouard turned 18, he worked a small job until he saved up enough money to establish a farm on his parents’ land.

At this point, he gave up on the opportunity to pursue an education or professional career in order to build a house back in the village in the Rutongo district where the family is from and raise his younger siblings in a home where they could live together as a family. Flodouard is now a small farmer and the father of three children of his own.

5. This is Floduard today, aged 35.

Colin Crowley/Save the Children

6. This is Floduard’s family.

Colin Crowley/Save the Children

7. Cyprien, 1995.

Colin Crowley/Save the Children

Cyprien is the younger brother of Flodouard, and the older brother of Gloriose. After learning that his parents had been killed in the Rwandan genocide, he was transported to an orphanage in Byumba and reunited with his paternal uncle.

Two years later Cyprien and his younger sister Gloriose moved in with older brother Flodouard at the home and farm he built. Cyprien currently lives in Gisenyi where he works as a mechanic in the Rwanda military.

8. This is Cyprien today, aged 33.

Colin Crowley/Save the Children

9. Evans, 1995.

Colin Crowley/Save the Children

Evans was 8 years old when he and his brother Jean-Baptiste (below), then 15, had to leave their village during the genocide. They were picked up by the advancing rebel forces and transported to an orphanage in the town of Byumba.

10. This is Evans today, aged 28.

Colin Crowley/Save the Children

11. Jean Baptiste, 1995.

Colin Crowley/Save the Children

Jean-Baptiste was 15 when he and his brother Evans (above) had to leave their village during the genocide.

12. This is Jean-Baptiste today, aged 34.

Colin Crowley/Save the Children

13. This is Jean-Baptiste’s family.

Colin Crowley/Save the Children

14. Polaroids of separated children of the Rwandan genocide taken from the Save the Children archive:

Save the Children
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Save the Children
Save the Children
Save the Children
Save the Children
Save the Children
Save the Children
Save the Children
Save the Children
Save the Children

26. Moments of reunification between separated children and their families:

Save the Children
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Save the Children

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