Genocide Survivor Works to Bring Healing to His Nation

David Niyonzima, a survivor of a genocidal massacre in Burundi, a small African nation south of Rwanda, will be speaking at the Eugene Friends Meeting on Wednesday, October 23rd at 6:00.

Eight of eleven pastoral students were murdered and the perpetrators continued to seek their main target. They were hunting for the students' teacher, a Quaker leader named David Niyonzima. The date was October 25th, 1993, and the place was Burundi, a small African nation south of Rwanda. About 300,000 persons were killed in the genocide; the civil war continued to rage for another 14 years.

David had a clear sense, coming out of the terror and turmoil, that  his life had been protected to lead an effort of peacebuilding, reconciliation, and healing between the Hutu and Tutsi factions in his country. Under his leadership Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services (THARS) was organized and registered in Burundi as a non-profit. When a large US AID grant was secured, many couselors were trained in active listening and deep awareness of their clients' deep psychological wounds. Trauma survivors began to find healing from their post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) in safe places called Listening Rooms.

Since 2002, over 2000 clients have been helped in groups that include both Tutsi and Hutu members.

David shares the stories and the political/historical context in forum presentations and in seminars for professional trauma healers and the public.

Eugene Friends Meeting is hosting an open forum: Peace-Building After Genocide on Wednesday, October 23rd, 6:00-8:00 pm, 2274 Onyx St. Eugene.

If you are interested in participating in a more in-depth seminar, Trauma Healing: Lessons from Burundi, Africa, Eugene Friends Church at 3495 18th Ave. will be holding that from 8:30 am -3:30 pm on Thursday, October 24th.There  is a $50 "donation" for the seminar. There is a brochure with more specific information in the tower near the kitchen on campus.

Information for registration for either event: 541-485-5658 or 541-484-9998. I would assume that they would like people to register for either and/or both events.

Posted by Shelley Smolnisky ( on Oct 10, 2013 at 12:50 PM

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