Providing access to genocide documentation: learning through teaching

The team tile resizedWhen I first joined Aegis Trust as the archive projects coordinator, I was both excited and nervous about working for an organisation that dealt with documenting such a sensitive issue as the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. I experienced the genocide from a distance, having lost most of my mother’s family members to it and watching my mother cry herself to sleep every night, knowing she could do nothing to save them except pray for a miracle.

I feel that being indirectly affected by the genocide, but also having some distance from it, allowed me to have multiple perspectives of the events of 1994. Having lived abroad from the longest and wildest beaches of the southern hemisphere in Port-Shepstone South Africa, to the neutral beauty of Switzerland, I have heard stories and opinion on the history of Rwanda from the deepest south to the glamorous north. And now, once again, I find myself back at the centre of the Earth, back home in Rwanda: right at the source of the genocide where the truth can be dug up.

I am so proud to be a part of Aegis Trust and contribute to what it does. By working with the Genocide Archive of Rwanda, I am able to not only learn about the genocide, but also be part of something bigger: documenting the genocide and providing access to this information online to millions of users globally.

My main task in the archive is to oversee the development of content for our website in partnership with our devoted communications team. We update the site as frequently as possible, select photographs and other archive items and keep our followers up-to-date with our activities, projects and upcoming events through social media. I also act as the middle-woman between upper management and our local and international partners. Our good relationships with these partners mean we have a lots of new projects lined up. We are never bored here at the archive. Every day brings new challenges.

What has made my job even more enjoyable, despite the fact that we work with emotionally challenging collections, is that we have a dynamic working environment where humour is still very much alive and friendship is strong.

But the reason for all of us being here remains the same: to document the genocide against the Tutsi and to make it accessible to the world, now, and for future generations. Time does not stand still. With every year that passes since 1994, our work of preservation and education becomes even more important.

Mimi Frank coordinates archive department projects and events. She is the intermediary between the Genocide Archive of Rwanda, international partners and supporting organisations.

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