African Great Lakes 

AVP Experience with Former Prison Inmates: The Heart Has Reasons that Even Reason Ignores.

By David Bucura

“The genocide found me in Butare, currently Huye district where I was the Prison Director” says Faustin. Sentenced in 1999 at the age of 30, Faustin Munyerangwe was convicted for participation in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi. Sentenced in 1999 at the age of 30, Faustin Munyerangwe was convicted for  in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi. First jailed in the Butare prison, he focused on own survival by accomplishing different activities for the prison despite the uncertainty about prison life which was obvious to him. “Prisons are supposed to mean good thing, but when so much trouble comes out of them it’s hard for a detainee to remember what they are meant for”. It was a hard and tough time for him even though he had acknowledged his mistakes during the genocide.

In 2006 after being transfer to Nyanza Prison, he was seven years into a twenty-year sentence, and he had finally found a way to occupy his time. That year, he was introduced at a basic level of Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP) by David Bucura, Thacienne Iryanyawera and Sizeri Marcelin, Faustin got a chance to continue up to the training of facilitators (ToF).

Faustin MUNYERAGWE attending AVP refresher training in Gisenyi, Rubavu

“I cannot find words to express how I feel about Alternatives to Violence Program because the heart has its reasons that reason itself ignores. AVP changed my life in prison and will always be part of me,” Faustin says. From that time until his release, he regained a purpose in his life by helping to resolve conflict through training his fellow prisoners on AVP. 

Released in January 2019, Faustin reintegrated back to the community and confessed to enjoy and love more his life due to AVP. The program (AVP) brought back in him a sense of humanity and a critical thinking (thinking before reacting) that he wished he had had before and during the 1994 genocide perpetrated against Tutsi

Today, as part of his full integration in the community, Friends Peace House through the Alternative Violence Program (AVP) kept him as one among their facilitators and get him opportunities to speak of his experiences during his sentence to other facilitators. Over the last eight months, he has been active in his community by helping couples of released ex-prisoners and even committed to continue working with more of them. He wishes to provide the same support that he benefited from AVP which will enable other ex-prisoners to have personal transformation, to better understand themselves and apply conflict resolution mechanisms in their respective families and communities.

Written by David Bucura