Genocide widows saluted for resilience

L-R: Eastern Province Governor Fred Mufulukye, Minister Mbabazi and Mukabayire light the flame of hope during the event on Wednesday. Jean de Dieu Nsabimana.

Members of the association of Genocide widows, Avega-Agahozo, in Eastern Province on Wednesday commemorated the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi. They were joined by Unity Club, an association of current and former senior government officials and their spouses.

The event was held at Kigabiro Sector Memorial Site in Rwamagana District, home to more than 800 Genocide victims.

Addressing mourners, the Minister for Youth, Rosemary Mbabazi, thanked Avega members for disregarding their own suffering and instead work with government and other partners to help the most vulnerable among them, all affected by the Genocide.

“We appreciate the ‘Ubudasa’ (uniqueness) you demonstrated in giving services to your neediest members through working with other partners, public and private; we recommend that other organisations borrow a leaf from your resilience,” Mbabazi told the Genocide widows.

The minister, who represented Unity Club, said that some of the most serious interventions required included finding communal shelters for elderly survivors who lost every one of their immediate family. Such people are commonly known as Incike.

Mbabazi said that such houses were built in Kayonza, Rulindo, Kamonyi and Huye districts, where these senior citizens share homes to avoid loneliness and have caregivers on hand to support them.

She said that Unity Club, together with the Ministry of Local Government and Social Affairs,  and other partners have started construction of a new home in Rusizi District which will host another 32 survivors.

The Rwf360 million building will be completed by October.

“We are so thankful to Avega-Agahozo for their relief through shelter. They also linked us to partners who gave us capital to start income generating activities,” said Concessa Kayiraba, a Genocide survivor.

Call for support

Valerie Mukabayire, the president of Avega, however, said the organisation still has members without shelter.

“There are others who were given houses in 1998 by Avega in collaboration with different partners but the houses built were not strong enough, due to the high number of houses that needed to be built at the same time so they have since collapsed or will soon collapse,” she said.

“The most urgent thing at the time was to see people getting shelter, and this resulted in building weak houses,” she explains.

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