Icyizere Cooperative

In 1994, conflict between two warring parties escalated into the massacre of over 800,000 Rwandans, devastating thousands of families. During this crisis, Olive was in the hospital giving birth to her child. She returned home to the unthinkable – her entire family had been killed in the conflict. In the years after, she adopted six orphans from the genocide and began the painstaking task of rebuilding her life and community. But due to the nature of the conflict, many of the men that were responsible for the murder of her family still lived within her village. She came to the realization that in order to live, she would have to begin to forgive. As the olive branch of forgiveness was extended, these men began to help put the community back together as well, bit by bit. As Olive put it, “through forgiveness, we found peace.”

Olive and the other surviving women in her village farm potatoes as a way to support their families, but this backbreaking work yields little profit. They dreamed of owning their own plot of land and forming a cooperative. In 2018, after raising more than $260,000, Gishers from around the world provided that for Olive. Now she and her community can continue to thrive for years and generations to come.