April Hero: Eugenie Mukeshimana
Posted on 03 April 2014
Eugenie Mukeshimana was only 22-years-old and 8 months pregnant when the genocide broke in Rwanda. She went into hiding with her husband, who tragically died after separating to improve their chances of survival. It was the birth of her first child that gave her the willpower to survive.
Today, she leads the Genocide Survivors Support Network (GSSN), a charitable organization with a mission to educate communities on the crime of genocide and help genocide survivors rebuild their lives.
What makes Eugenie Mukeshimana a hero of the Rwandan Genocide?
Like other female genocide survivors, Eugenie’s story is one of adversity and triumph. But, what differentiates her from others is her determination, her desire to serve her community, and her commitment to furthering her education. In addition, Eugenie founded the Genocide Survivors Support Network when she noticed a heavy increase of genocide survivors emigrating to the USA with no support system. From ensuring her daughter’s survival to dedicating her life to help displaced families in both Rwanda and the USA—Eugenie encompasses every aspect of the word “hero”.
About Eugenie Mukeshimana
Eugenie and her husband were trying to escape Hutu extremists’ hunt to exterminate them. After separating with her husband, Eugenie continued to hide at various safe houses, often in very painful, confined spaces. She was hiding in a trash pit when the Hutus found her.
Extremists wanted to cut open her stomach to see how a Tutsi child laid inside a mother, as if it were any different than their own mothers. They opted to wait to force her to kill her own child after birth. A month into the genocide, she snuck into the kitchen and gave birth to Mystica Rose on the floor. When the Hutus discovered this, they raped her and kidnapped her as a cook.
Eugenie survived the horrors of genocide with her daughter beside her. For the seven years following the genocide, Eugenie earned her high school diploma while learning English. With the help of kindhearted donors, she emigrated to the USA to earn a college degree in social work at the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY.
During her studies, she was shocked to find out that her professors and classmates had no knowledge of the Rwandan genocide. She used her voice to educate students, teachers, and other community groups about crimes against humanity. Before founding GSSN, she worked with homeless families in NY and NJ. Eugenie is also a frequent panelist on genocide-related issues.
SAME SKY salutes Eugenie Mukeshimana as a hero of the Rwandan genocide.