Turning pain into hope: Rwanda’s children of rape are coming of age — against the odds.

6/12/2017

Angel was 11 the last time her mother tried to kill her. She remembers the handful of rat poison pellets, the urging: Take this. She screamed until a neighbor rushed over and pulled her away.

That was a decade ago, before the counseling, and now Angel’s mother is bending over her shoulder, pouring her a cup of black tea. They share a bed, a concrete house without electricity and a history that horrified the world.

Over a hundred days in 1994, genocide devastated Rwanda, an East African country the size of Maryland. The assailants claimed roughly 800,000 lives and raped an estimated 250,000 women, which, according to one charity’s count, produced up to 20,000 babies.

Angel is part of this generation in the shadows. These young people are now stepping into adulthood, coming to terms with an identity no parent would wish on a child. Yet they are defying expectations that tragedy would define their lives.

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