A new narrative is emerging in Rwanda thanks to the work of Ladislas Yassin Nkundabanyanga and Youth for Human Rights.
Rwanda evokes images of a tragic past marked by ethnic violence. But educator and human rights activist Ladislas Yassin Nkundabanyanga is determined to ensure a peaceful future for the country. He partners with Youth for Human Rights, an educational initiative supported by the Church of Scientology, to protect future generations and create a better life for all.
Born in 1974 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire), his family moved to Rwanda in 1980 and he was in secondary school when the ethnic violence exploded.
“My life means nothing without others,” says Nkundabanyanga. “I lost my best friends during the genocide against Tutsis just because of their ethnicity. They were innocents. From that time forward I knew I had to teach youth about human rights.”
Nkundabanyanga finished his studies and was working as an English teacher in 2004 when he founded the nonprofit Rwanda Youth Clubs for Peace. The group works with youth and the community to promote peacebuilding, tolerance, and conflict resolution through its annual Football for Peace Tournament.
But Nkundabanyanga knew education was the key to preventing any future genocide. Searching for information online, he found Pascal Nwoga, a Nigerian human rights activist featured on the Scientology Network original series Voices for Humanity.
Nkundabanyanga ordered educational materials from United for Human Rights, the parent organization of Youth for Human Rights, and received booklets, audiovisual properties, a banner, posters, shirts and caps. Best of all, he was sent an educator’s package complete with lesson plan.
He has observed real change in the attitudes and actions of the children he has trained with the Youth for Human Rights materials. They not only can think for themselves and distinguish right from wrong, they are also putting what they learn into action.
“When we visit schools, students and teachers tell us that there is a big difference in discipline and school attendance since our visit,” he says. They are campaigning to get poor kids to attend school, in keeping with Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 26: The right to education. They visit parents who feel they are too poor to send their children to school. They urge the parents to give their children the opportunity to learn skills that can help them rise up out of poverty. And their campaign is making progress; some of these children are now back in school.
Most important of all, children who understand these rights will not succumb to the social insanity that fuels ethnic violence and genocide. “This will be my legacy,” says Nkundabanyanga. “This is the reason I do it.”
United for Human Rights and its program for young people, Youth for Human Rights, are inspired by author, humanitarian and Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, who said: “Human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream.” In a world where people are constantly barraged by reports of human rights violations, Scientologists work to uplift the culture by promoting full implementation of the UDHR through United for Human Rights, one of the world’s broadest human rights education and public information initiatives.
These materials are available in 17 languages on the website of United for Human Rights, including a free e-course on the background, history and significance of the document and each of its 30 articles.
Scientology Network programming includes a documentary on the history of human rights, public service announcements on the 30 articles of the UDHR, and episodes of the original series Voices for Humanity featuring ardent human rights activists who have used these materials to create positive change in their communities, cities, countries and beyond.
Since launching with an introduction by Scientology ecclesiastical leader Mr. David Miscavige in March 2018, the Scientology Network has been viewed in 237 countries and territories in 17 languages.