[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 March, 2004, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Rwanda's faces from the past
Red Cross photo album
Since 1994 almost 70,000 Rwandan children have been reunited
In the rush to escape after the 1994 genocide, tens of thousands of Rwandan children became separated from their families.

Some of them were barely old enough to remember their names, let alone the place their parents fled from. Aid agencies decided the only hope of finding the children's families was to put pictures of them on show and hope their relatives recognise them.

Ten years after the genocide, BBC News Online reports on how Red Cross photograph albums reunited two families.


For Prosper Uwera, the album was his only hope of finding his family.

Just three years old at the time, Prosper became separated from his family by a crowd fleeing for safety in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Prosper and his mother Felicite
Prosper and his mother reunited after nine years apart
"I had forgotten the name of my parents and my own name. I had forgotten everything," she said.

He was living in a centre for unaccompanied children in southern Rwanda, when the Red Cross visited to take pictures to put in an album.

His mother, Felicite, feared that her son had died. But never gave up hope.

She began her search when it was safe to return from DR Congo in 1986 and was finally reunited with Prosper - with help of the Red Cross family albums - in October 2003.

"I was very, very happy and very excited, I was crying tears of joy and spent the whole night dancing," she said.


Veronique Uwimana became separated from two of her children in DR Congo in 1997.

Veronique with (L to R) Jean Paul, Jeanne and John Bosco
Veronique still does not know how her children survived

"At first we lived in a refugee camp then out in the forest," she said.

"One day there was shooting. I was carrying my youngest child on my back but the other two ran away when the shooting started and I did not know where they had gone."

The two missing children - Jean Bosco and Jeanne D'Arc - were aged just six and two when they became separated from their mother.

Veronique presumed that her children had been killed.

"At first I did not recognise my mother but later on I did - I used to feel very sad but now I am happy
Jean Bosco
When she returned to Rwanda she began working at the Ministry of Social Affairs. And it was there that she saw copies of the photograph albums of missing children which were always sent there.

In separate albums she discovered pictures of her lost children.

She was reunited with Jeanne in 1999 and Jean Bosco in February 2003.

Veronique described the difficulties immediately after the reunification.

"At first my daughter kept her distance because she could not recognise me, and it took a couple of weeks for her to become close to me but now we are very close again."

Jean Bosco experienced the same emotions.

"When I heard my mother was alive at first I was very sceptical because I thought she had been killed but then I started thinking that maybe it could be true and that she was alive.

"At first I did not recognise my mother but later on I did. I used to feel very sad but now I am happy."




RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific