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Irish cows in Rwanda help families move on from genocide

Irish cows in Rwanda help families move on from genocide

The Rwandan Genocide was a mass slaughter of the Tutsis by the Hutus that took place in 1994 in the East African state of Rwanda. It is considered the most organised genocide of the 20th century.


Over the course of approximately 100 days - over 500,000 people were
killed. It was the culmination of a longstanding ethnic competition and
tensions between the minority Tutsi, who had controlled power for centuries, and the majority Hutu peoples, who had come to power in the
rebellion of 1959-62.


In 1998, Bóthar airlifted 70 in calf dairy heifers to Rwanda. Bóthar began
airlifting animals into Rwanda again in October 2006 and continues to send airlifts to Rwanda on average twice a year, with the aid of their project partner, Msaada. In June of this year Msaada recorded the details of 31 dairy heifers that had been airlifted there the previous March.


They met each of the families and asked them to share details of the
loved ones they lost during the genocide and explain how life has
changed for them since they received their dairy heifers from Ireland.
Here are just a few of these stories:


Cordette, a mother of four, lost her husband and one of her children during the genocide. Before she received her Irish dairy cow, Cordette’s income was generated from subsistence farming which was barely enough for her and her children to survive on.


Since they received their in-calf heifer, which they have affectionately
named "Marivole", their income has significantly increased, as Cordette
can now sell the surplus milk.


Agnes sadly lost four members of her immediate family when they were killed during the genocide. Agnes is a mother of one and received an in-calf dairy heifer, whom she has named "Imanz".


The heifer is not currently producing milk, however, once the calf is born
she will provide Agnes with enough surplus milk to sell. The sale of this milk will not only help her to improve her home, she will also be able to send her child to school.


Anastasie is another surviver of the genocide that savagely took the lives of her mother, father and five of her brothers and sisters. Anastasie lives
with her sister and her three year old nephew.


She and her family received a heifer last year, a heifer that now produces over eighteen litres of milk per day! Although Anastasie’s home is in very poor condition at the moment, in time she will be able improve their home.

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