In July 2009, an award-winning documentary called As We Forgive (AWF) made its Rwandan debut before an audience of 5,000 people in Kigali’s Petit Stade, the national basketball stadium.
The response to the film was overwhelming. Rwandan leaders and prominent reconciliation organizations called for the film to be shown in every school, prison, church and village in Rwanda. As a part of a storytelling culture, these leaders saw the potential for using the film to give people the much-needed hope that reconciliation after genocide is possible.
In response, the As We Forgive Rwanda Initiative (AWFRI) was launched. Filmmaker Laura Waters Hinson, Chief Executive Officer Andrea McDaniel and Rwandan team, Benjamin Ndizeye and Emmanuel Kwizera partnered with Rwandan reconciliation organizations to screen As We Forgive and facilitate a healing discussion program in universities, churches, prisons, and secondary schools across the country. In less than six months the program, called LivingTogether, was presented to over 30,000 Rwandans in prisons, secondary schools, churches and universities across the country.
The positive response towards the LivingTogether Program among the youth and leadership of the country has surpassed expectations. As such, the As We Forgive Rwanda Initiative is expanding to meet the demand for more reconciliation programs throughout Rwanda.