Remembering Rwanda

Gino Strada in Rwanda, 1994

Gino Strada in Rwanda, 1994

The first week of April 1994 marks the beginning of what’s now internationally recognized as the Rwandan genocide. While the Rwandan government has been commemorating the  appalling events in an effort to cope with them, the memory of such human tragedy has also sparked criticism of the lack of international support from the West at the time and even an alleged involvement of the French government. As we commemorate this grim anniversary at EMERGENCY USA, we want not only to remember the lives of those who died, but also go beyond the controversy and recognize the effort who was in fact there to help and support.

 In 1994 Gino Strada, his wife Teresa Sarti and small group of close friends founded EMERGENCY at their kitchen table in Milan in response to the genocide in Rwanda. With less than $10,000, EMERGENCY renovated and reopened the surgical department of the Kigali Hospital. Over a period of four months, surgical assistance was provided for more than 600 war casualties and landmine victims. A maternity ward was reopened so that more than 2,500 patients received medical and surgical assistance. Since then EMERGENCY has treated over 6 million people in 18 countries and it’s still effecting the well-being of the Rwandan people by providing the only state-of-the-art cardiac surgery center on the African continent in Sudan.
To learn more Gino’s story you can read this article by The Guardian.

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