Three years following the Rwandan genocide, Sr. Mary Rose Mukukibogo founded the farming association Dususuruke to revitalize the agricultural economy. In the local language of Kinyarwanda, Dususuruke means “warm solidarity.” She was first faced with hesitancy and backlash as people questioned their own ability to rebound following the atrocities. However, slowly she was able to garner support among the women of Gisagara.
Upon inception in 1997, the program first targeted victims of the genocide who had lost their husbands. A couple years later, women whose husbands were in jail for genocide were invited to participate, forcing both sides to come together. The group harvests vegetable gardens, potato fields, tomatoes, maize and beans. More recently they have begun tilapia fish farming for those who are growing older and becoming less capable of performing physical labor.
The agricultural association began merely as a project for economic empowerment, but soon they added psychological support. This has become essential to the healing process. Incorporating a methodology called Capacitar, a mindfulness training that helps in confronting trauma, participants of Dususuruke began using this in addition to their farming to find a more holistic sense of healing.
Looking at the good her work has done over the past two decades, Mukukibogo remarked, “To touch the soil is internal healing. When you use physical energy, you drain the negative energy. And when you drain this negative energy, you are receiving fruit from the soil.”
To read the original story from the Global Sisters Report and learn more about this program, click here.