Survivor of genocide in Rwanda tells her story on the Suncoast

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Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2013 10:40 pm | Updated: 10:51 am, Mon Oct 21, 2013.

SARASOTA, Fla. - Sunday afternoon, Eugenie Mukeshimana was the keynote speaker at Humanity Working to End Genocide’s 7th Annual Rally. The rally was held at the Church of Incarnation on Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota. 

Mukeshimana has devoted her life to helping victims of violence and genocide reclaim their own lives.

"We do need a voice to come out," she said. "We have to tell the world what happened."

Mukeshimana, a native of Rwanda, was raped and kidnapped while she was eight months pregnant during the bloody racial civil war in 1994.

"I was lucky enough [that the baby and I survived], but her dad and my dad and my sister and other family members were not as lucky," Mukeshimana told ABC 7.

Mukeshimana immigrated to the United States in 2001 and was embraced by her new community in Albany, New York.

"It takes a family to raise a child. I was a grown up but I was [like] a child adopted in that community and they really did everything to make education affordable to me. They gave me everything a parent would give a child."

She knows what it is like to be survivor of violence in a foreign land and is very thankful for the support she received.

"That kind of taught me that it is possible to perhaps do the same for other survivors."

In 2010 she founded the Genocide Survivors Support Network to help other survivors of violence. Now she travels across the country spreading her message.

"It is important for people to take action. I want people who came in today to go home and not necessarily put the fires away, I want them to go home as ambassadors and educate others what they learned today."

On Monday, Mukeshimana will also share her story and message with students of Pine View School in Osprey.

For more information, visit Humanity Working to End Genocide's website at http://www.hwegsrq.org/, or Genocide Survivors Support Network's website: http://www.gssnglobal.org.

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