Responding to genocide: Honouring the work of Rwandan Ibuka counsellors 

The Ibuka Counsellors of Rwanda were a young team of survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi who responded as counsellors and assistant lawyers to other survivors throughout the country. This story of their work in this interview with Adelite Mukamana ‘Survivors supporting survivors’.

Survivors supporting survivors: Recalling the history of the Ibuka counselling team – An interview with Adelite Mukamana

As part of their first narrative workshop, a collective document was created from the words and stories of Ibuka counsellors:  Living in the shadow of genocide: How we respond to hard times – Stories of sustenance from the workers of Ibuka

We have included here a spoken word version of this document in Kinyarwanda:

An English video version:

The narrative practices of Ibuka trauma counsellors

The principles and stories of Ibuka counsellors work are documented in the publication – Working with memory in the shadow of genocide: The narrative practices of Ibuka trauma counsellors – which opens with these words:

‘Ibuka’ means remember. It is also the name of the national genocide survivors association in Rwanda. This publication describes how Ibuka trauma counsellors are responding to the survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. It documents and honours their work as well as acknowledging the experiences and responses of survivors. Significantly, Ibuka workers are survivors themselves. Their work is more than professional. It also involves the sharing of stories and memory, the linking of lives, social healing1, and action. This publication is to be launched during the 16th commemoration of genocide in Rwanda which is emphasising the role of trauma counsellors in rebuilding the nation. We hope that this document will raise awareness of the work of Ibuka counsellors within Rwanda and make it more possible for survivors throughout the country to receive support. We also hope that this publication will be read widely across the globe. The Executive Secretary of Ibuka, Kaboyi Benoit, has described the work of Ibuka as ‘like a small light to survivors, a small light as we walk this long road’ (Kaboyi, 2007). As the trauma counsellors of Ibuka continue to develop their own ways of working with memory, their stories may also offer light to those responding to trauma in many other countries, in Africa, and beyond.

We have included this publication in both Kinyarwanda and English:


English: Working with memory in the shadow of genocide: The narrative practices of Ibuka trauma counsellors

Honouring Ibuka counsellors

The opening keynote of the International Narrative Therapy and Community Work Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, honoured the work of the Ibuka counsellors. We have included here a video (in Kinyarwandan) of Kalisa Joseph’s  speech:  

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