In 2003, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution identifying 7 April as the start of the genocide, and named it the International day of reflection on the genocide. It serves to commemorate the beginning of the tragedy that claimed the lives of 20% of the country’s population.
Decades of tensions had simmered between the two Rwandan tribes. On 6 April 1994, the president’s plane was shot down and these tensions boiled over and sparked a swift and brutal genocide. In just 100 days, about one million Rwandans were killed in slayings that rocked the world.
In the weeks following the killings, JAM CEO, Peter Pretorius met Fred Nkunda, who was caring for orphans of parents killed in the tragedy. Peter, moved by his commitment, arranged for an orphanage to be built to house 700 children. The centre took three years to be built and in 1998, the Fred Nkunda Life Centre opened its doors to children who had lost their parents. Over the years, the centre’s management has helped foster more than 12 000 to reunite with caregivers, family members or be fostered.
In 2014, JAM re-developed the orphanage into a Vocational Training Centre. The centre now offers one or three-year diplomas in automotive mechanics, masonry, carpentry, hairdressing, welding and culinary arts and has 190 young adults enrolled in its accredited courses. JAM remains committed to caring and developing the young people of this beautiful nation.