Lisa Rogoff

Lisa Rogoff (Survivor Corps in Rwanda): Lisa has spent much of her professional career promoting human rights. She earned a BA from Colgate University. She then worked for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience where she produced Voices on Genocide Prevention, a weekly podcast. Lisa then worked at the ENOUGH Project, directing campaigns to raise awareness about the crises in Sudan, Congo and Uganda. Lisa returned to academia to pursue a joint-degree at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and McDonough School of Business. While at Georgetown she worked at the Clinton Global Initiative, designing the Human Rights and Peace Track for the CGI’s second annual conference for university students. During her first year at graduate school, Lisa also worked with the Grassroots and Issues Management Team at APCO Worldwide, a global communications consulting firm. After her fellowship, Lisa wrote: "My experience in Rwanda has taught me the importance of flexibility. I’ve also seen the importance of empowering women...I don’t know that I’ve changed the way I look at myself, though I have come to understand just how fortunate I am to have been born in my circumstances. I have met so many wonderful and talented men and women in Rwanda who have been unable to realize their fullest potential because of their economic, social, or political situations.”

“We Are Moving On”

12 Jul

“We can’t punish them without thinking about their future and the future of our country,” Jean-Paul Nyirindekwe, the coordinator of Travaux d’Intérêt Général (TIG) – “Works of General Interest” – told me last week when we spoke about the work of TIG, the government-sponsored program through which perpetrators of the genocide in Rwanda atone for their crimes through community service.

Many Rwandans convicted of genocide in the gacaca courts are sentenced to community service, which is led by TIG.  TIG only began its work in 2005, but it hopes – and needs – to move quickly.  As of today, almost 8,000 perpetrators have completed their service through TIG, 26,000 are currently serving their sentences in 60 camps around the country, and 40,000 still wait to be placed into a TIG camp.

Jean-Paul explained the three aspects of TIG’s programs: punishment, social reintegration, and reconstruction of society through development projects.  I wonder if punishment is the correct word to use in this case.

My mind drifts to my walk to work in Nyamirambo, I pass a TIG camp with hundreds of prisoners in pink jump suits milling around the compound, usually carrying some sort of tool to do this service work.  It is a bit disconcerting to start the morning coming face-to-face with murderers and rapists.  I think of Emilienne, of Chantal and Consolee, of all of my friends who have shared their stories from 1994. I cannot imagine what this must be like for them.

Genocidaires in the TIG program

Genocidaires in the TIG program

I’ve asked Albert about this before.  “It is necessary,” he said.  “It is the only way.”

Albert and Survivor Corps are working with TIG on the third element of the TIG program, social reintegration.  Survivor Corps will provide peer support training to TIG staff and perpetrators in TIG’s programs.  In addition to this training, Survivor Corps plans to work with local government to train and deploy community-based peer outreach workers to provide sustained support to perpetrators as they reintegrate into society.  By encouraging survivors and perpetrators to work together on community service projects, Survivor Corps and TIG will work to not only rebuild communities, but to repair relations between survivors and perpetrators.

Jean-Paul stressed the importance of TIG’s partnership with Survivor Corps.  “The social reintegration component is the major output of our program; it is our output into society and it will shape Rwanda’s future.

(Photo credit: THOMAS LOHNES/AFP/Getty Images)

Posted By Lisa Rogoff

Posted Jul 12th, 2009

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