Welcome to Kiliclimb 2012

Kiliclimb 2012 is an international climb of the highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro. This expedition is in support of Just Equipping, a Canadian registered non profit charitable organization dedicated to education, training, and action in the area of Restorative Justice. Since 2006, Just Equipping has provided a number of missions in Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, and Cameroon. Just Equipping has played a crucial role in the comfort and support of victims, the rebuilding of fractured communities, the reintegration of offenders, and the promotion of ethical and compassionate corrections and chaplaincy in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Just Equipping shares a unique partnership with Queens University Theological College in Kingston. Because of this partnership, an International Diploma in Restorative Justice can be granted. Just Equipping was founded by Judith and Pierre Allard. Judith is currently the Executive Director of this internationally acclaimed organization. Pierre is an ordained minister and retired senior executive with the Correctional Service of Canada. Judith and Pierre, who reside in Gatineau Quebec, will be returning to Gisenyi Rwanda in January 2012 to continue their fine work in support of a number of projects sponsored by Just Equipping.

Monday, 26 December 2011

A Visit to Rwanda: Part 2

The Letters Project
A few years ago 400 inmates of Gisenyi Prison Rwanda gave the chaplain letters they had written to their survivor victims admitting their crimes and seeking forgiveness. Pierre Allard developed a Victim/Offender Protocol to govern the delicate business of delivering these letters and supporting victims as they received them. Since, over 120 of these letters have been delivered. Each letter, provided with sensitivity and counselling, is conveyed by two chaplains. Often the chaplains will travel to very remote areas accessible only by taxi motorbike or on foot. This can take days or longer. As 17 years have passed since the genocide, victims are often difficult to locate. The genocide displaced so many people. Once located, the community usually becomes involved. All this takes time and expense. Chaplain Lazare is President of ICOPUR (The Letters Project), and Chaplain Adolphine who works with him, is instrumental in facilitating victim/offender reconcillation. 
In Gisenyi, with the help of Adolphine and Lazare, we were introduced to two victims of the genocide who had come to meet with us and tell their stories. They were survivors who had received letters. A man who, as a young boy at the time of the genocide, had managed to hide in the tall grass as his village was attacked. All 17 members of his family were slaughtered.
The woman survivor described her feelings receiving a letter. Afterword, she asked to meet the man who had killed her family. She had questions to ask. The offender, a neighbour from her village, was known to her. She had to see him and ask those questions that still troubled her.
She sought closure, the offender forgiveness. A visit to Gisenyi Prison was arranged for her, accompanied by the chaplain. These were extraordinary stories told by victims who were courageous and remarkably forgiving. 

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