About the Project

100 Messages of Hope is one part of the broader 'Sustaining Reconciliation in Rwanda' project run by partners in Rwanda and Murdoch University.

Sustaining Reconciliation in Rwanda aims to help maintain the success of the reconciliation process in Rwanda, and to present the story of those successes to a broader international audience. Driven by advice and direction from Rwandan partners about their needs on the ground, the project involves researchers and practitioners in psychology, health, media, education and information technology delivering programs including delivery of trauma counselling to genocide survivors, training of mental health professionals in Rwanda, and building capacity for recording, GPS mapping, and transmission of survival narratives of genocide sites and village-based justice councils.

One of our main objectives is the dissemination of a broader view of Rwanda not only as a place where infamous atrocities took place but where compellingly positive expressions of reconciliation and renewal can be found.

Why messages of hope?

The latest psychological research confirms that successful recovery from trauma involves finding a balance between acknowledging both suffering and resilience. The coping ability of communities and individuals can be blocked if people do not have a clear view of a possible positive future. Positive messages can help to repair personal damage and damage to the fabric of society by creating beacons of hope for the wider community, and especially for the younger generation. Put simply, it is difficult for Rwandans, or anybody else, to create a positive future if they can't talk about or imagine what that future looks like.

A message of hope is meant to offer a spark that may ignite the will to live a better/more well life in some individuals now lost to pain and grief. As such a story could metaphorically act like a torch and help others to see at least the possibility of a path out of their darkness and suffering. A message of hope reflects the inherent strength in humans and highlights resilience as an alternative to a defeated and broken life. Preferably, words of hope are embedded in a brief narrative, as people are far more likely to remember the content of a message if it is presented in the context of a (brief) story. At the same time, we must acknowledge that accepting that resilient individuals may/will still suffer too at times.

Messages of hope told by survivors are conveying a level of human achievement that is difficult to comprehend. They encapsulate "truths" that cannot be expressed by anyone who has little knowledge of the depth of pain and despair transcended by these individuals.

Messages of hope are published globally through this web site and shown during commemoration ceremonies at the National Stadium in Rwanda attended by Genocide survivors and international dignitaries every year on April 7.