May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to recognise the importance of mental health and work towards reducing the stigma surrounding it. Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and it is an integral part of overall health. It influences how we navigate challenging situations, celebrate accomplishments, heal from past traumas, and develop resilience. Mental health also encompasses the effects of unresolved childhood trauma, irrational fears, and our ability to support ourselves and others.

A few summers ago, I embarked on a project focused on mental health in Rwanda. I gathered data from young individuals, seeking to understand their perceptions of peace and wellness. While extensive research has been conducted on the genocide in Rwanda, less attention has been given to comprehending the experiences of growing up and living in a post-genocide society. With this project, I aimed to gain insight into how young people, born after the genocide, make sense of their post-traumatic environment. It was crucial to consider that some participants were born to survivors, while others were born into families involved in the atrocities. By delving beyond surface-level information and exploring their perspectives on peace, childhood memories, and daily life, I encouraged participants to delve into deeper introspection. My primary focus was to understand how relationships were formed, how the legacy of dehumanisation was addressed, and, most important, how individuals perceived their place in the narrative of a united country.

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