Survivor of Rwanda Genocide Is Now It’s Only Female Neurosurgeon

(Photo credit: CTV)

We all know that the path to becoming a doctor is a hard one: the long nights, the countless hours of studying, dealing with cadavers and not to mention the years studying as resident after graduation.

If that’s not all, there’s one doctor who’s been through that and more, including surviving one of the most horrific killing sprees in history.

Dr. Claire Karekezi, a young doctor who survived the Rwandan genocide, will become the country’s first and only female neurosurgeon. Dr. Karekezi trained at Toronto Western Hospital in its advanced cancer brain surgery program. In July, she will be returning to her home country as the first and only female neurosurgeon.

Her 12-year journey in medicine thus far comes after a childhood surrounded by horror and tragedy. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda took the lives of literally hundreds of thousands, including some of Karekezi’s own cousins and aunts.

The Rwandan genocide, also known as the genocide against the Tutsi, was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority government. An estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans were killed during the 100-day period from April 7th to mid-July 1994, constituting as many as 70% of the Tutsi population. Additionally, 30% of the Pygmy Batwa were killed. The genocide and widespread slaughter of Rwandans ended when the Tutsi-backed and heavily armed Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Paul Kagame took control of the country. An estimated 2,000,000 Rwandans, mostly Hutus, were displaced and became refugees.

(Photo credit: University Health Network)

The genocide is the premise behind the film, Hotel Rwanda, starring Don Cheadle, where he played Paul Rusesabagina, a Rwandan humanitarian who, while working as a house manager at the Hôtel des Mille Collines in Kigali, hid and protected 1,268 Hutu and Tutsi refugees from the Interahamwe militia during the Rwandan genocide.

Karekezi told The Toronto Star in an article published on May 13 that the genocide is “what sort of made us who we are today as Rwandese people because we grew up knowing that we cannot count on anyone but ourselves.”

She added she believes in doing “whatever it takes to get where I want to go.”

“I keep pushing because the genocide happened, the whole world was watching and no one did anything. But we came through that, we are a strong nation, and we have very brave people who have managed to…