Francine
Rwanda
Jewelry Maker

All of my family was killed in Rwanda’s genocide. Widowed, alone, and on the streets, I suffered terribly. I was raped by six different men and then left for dead in a bush on the side of the road. I had truly lost all hope; even if I did survive this horrific event, I wondered what would the point would be in living a life alone, forever haunted by these traumatic memories. As I lay dying, I was found in the bushes and rushed to the hospital. There I was treated for my wounds. While treating me the doctors found that, as a result of the rapes, I was HIV positive. I knew that my life would continue to be a struggle. Once I was released from the hospital, I heard that All Across Africa and their staff Odette, was helping widows like me to recover from the wounds they had suffered in the genocide. I went to them and they helped me to learn how to take care of myself and how to forgive all of those terrible men who ruined my life. I was encouraged to see that in order to heal I needed to find strength in God. I am now living in a community filled with genocide widows. We work together to support each other and meet once a week to remind each other that we are not alone. I have been able to make some money to provide myself with food and medicine, though I am still very poor. But now I have hope that with the love and support of God and these other women, I will survive.