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Selephine Kagaju

Twice a week I come to the center and sit with the other women and sew. I was married once, to an accountant, but when he died of AIDS in 2005, I was left HIV positive, and alone with five children. Corneille was Hutu and I am Tutsi.

During the genocide Corneille hid me and the children from the Hutu killers. We tried to keep the children quiet, but our two older children were afraid and ran out into the street when they heard the killers coming. We heard them screaming in the street in front of our house as they died.

Now I come here to sew with the other women, who like me, have lost their husbands to AIDS, have lost families to the genocide, and are here holding on to life just like this needle pushing through cloth, carrying the thread in and out, holding the cloth together. My name is Selephine Kagaju. I am 52 years old. I dream that my children will be able to complete their studies. I’d love so much to see them finishing school and find a job. Be able to live, like anyone.