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Weekend: A brief photographic view into Women from Rwanda (1 of 2)

Approximate reading time: 2 minutes

It is estimated that up to 1 million people may have lost their lives in the massacres in Rwanda since April 1994. The genocide has attracted the eyes of the entire world, and interest in the country has practically refounded Rwanda. The post-genocide period is marked by growth and contrasts, and has as one of its great characters, the woman.

The militias, the army, and other paramilitary forces recruited men, in most cases. This created a huge population of widows and very specific social behaviors. It is very common, for example, to see Rwandan women in heavy work, usually occupied by men, in other countries.

The country’s  prostitution rate is high, prompting parliament to discuss the decriminalisation of prostitution in 2017, while maintaining punishment only for those who sexually exploit women.

Social work grows in the country, and little by little foreign volunteer work is replaced by local initiatives; as is the case of Rwandan designer Patrick Umuhuza, who has developed a line of handbags based on local craftsmanship, and keeps all his production using social labor, along with women from the community, involved in some way with prostitution.

Foreign institutions still play an important role in the country; despite the fact that voluntary work addresses several shortcomings in Rwanda’s basic services, it is the inflow of capital from foreign donors that most directly impacts the lives of the population by bringing resources so that social work can be realized.

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