Liliane Gasana’s parents were among the toll of over one million people who lost their lives in the early days of the Genocide against the Tutsi. Liliane went through the tragic events, when she was only 10 years old. A catholic nun found her and brought her to the then SOS Children’s Village Rwanda’s emergency program established in Ngarama (former Byumba Prefecture), which later in 1997 became the SOS Children’s Village Byumba.
“At SOS Children’s Village Byumba, I was blessed with a new family and an SOS Children’s Villages mother, which replaced my entire family. Today she is a mother of three children and recalls very well all the experiences she went through when SOS Children’s Village Byumba was born to take care of her as well as other hundreds of children who had the same past or even those who went through worse experiences.
Liliane says that SOS Children’s Village Byumba was established at the right time, when many children had lost their hope for life due to the horrific events during the Genocide against Tutsi.
“We all came from different parts of the country and shared the same wounds as we were all victims of the Genocide against Tutsi, separated from our parents. Some of us had physical and emotional wounds others deep trauma that were difficult to heal. It was not easy for us to catch up with life again”, she says.
She added: “We were about 500 children in the program. SOS Children’s Village Byumba did what our parents would do. They gave us all necessities a child would get from their own parents, even if most of us had lost both parents, they filled the void we had from losing our biological parents”, she remembers.
She goes on to testify that she and her peers quickly integrated into the SOS Children’s Villages Byumba in which they found comfort and grew up in a safe and caring environment. “We had a family with mothers and aunts who gave us good care and even the Village Director is still our father”, she adds.
Liliane adds that SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda supported physically wounded children with reconstructive surgery and scar revision performed in different countries like Austria, Germany and South Africa. Their lives changed by the time they had a chance to be enrolled in the emergency program during the genocide, as they were no longer begging for their lives. “I will never forget the comforting messages from Mr. Callixte Rwabuhungu who thought us to forgive and how to prepare for a future. For us, he is a real father figure until today", says Liliane. Today, she does not hesitate to call “SOS Children’s Village Byumba" her real family that molded her into a woman with values and good morals.
“I do remember before going to school, our mother encouraging us to be focused at school every day. This made me a strong woman up to now and helped me do well in primary, high school and university", she adds.
After completing her studies of a Master’s degree at Oklahoma Christian University in Project Management, she started her own fashion shop located in the Centre of Kigali, the capital City of Rwanda. Liliane is a holder of Master’s degree in from the same University and dedicates all her success to her caretakers from SOS Children’s Village from whom she got the starting point into her brilliant future.