As Rwanda commemorates the 24th genocide against Tutsi in 1994, I&M Bank also joined various institutions as they continue to remember their employees killed during the genocide against Tutsi.
The commemoration was held on Friday at Nyanza-Kicukiro Genocide Memorial Site where 5,000 victims were killed after Belgian soldiers who were serving in the United Nations peacekeeping forces abandoned them, in an unprecedented act of cowardice.
Employees of I&M Bank departed from the head quarter parking at 2pm to Kicukiro where they were taken through various parts of Genocide Memorial and had a moment of silence as they remembered the genocide victims buried there.
Robin Bairstow the Managing Director of I & M bank, Jean Ruzindaza, Director of the Unit for advocacy within the CNLG and a representative from the ex-staff surviving families laid wreaths on the mass graves of victims before ending the tour.
The rest of the I & M staff together with the ex-staff survivors families and friends convened to a large tent at the Memorial ground to continue with the commemoration event and to listen to speeches and testimonies of survivors of the 1994 genocide that took lives of more than one million Tutsi.
While giving his testimony, 24 years later, we still have families who have not found their loved ones killed in the genocide. As survivors we ask those who participated in the killing of our relatives to tell us where they were thrown so we can give them a dignified burial.
The gathering listened to soft commemoration sons from an artist and watched a short film of genocide survivors before lighting candles and having a moment of silence to remember those that died during the genocide.
While giving his speech, the Managing Director of I&M bank Robin Bairstow said that the bank and its staff will always join Rwandans and friends of Rwanda all around the world in commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis where more than a million people were killed.
“As an institution that has been part of this society and its transformation for many years, our concern and commitment to do more in helping genocide survivors will always be guaranteed. We shall continue to work with local leaders and relevant bodies to identify those in need of support and offer a helping hand” Bairstow said
He went on to say that the bank for a long time supported activities like reconstructing lives of widows and orphans of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis’
“For 2018, we have identified and visited a disabled widow in the western province and we are working with relevant authorities to extend our full support to her. We have also continued with our pledge to support the families of our staff that were killed during the 1994 Genocide by offering them with internship opportunities and taking on others as full time employees of I&M bank Rwanda” he added
The director commended RPF for stopping genocide against Tutsi and its achievements in building the nation .He then requested everyone to continue playing an active role in ensuring a better Rwanda devoid of genocide ideologies and all forms of injustice and to ensure genocide never happens again.
“Allow me to close with an appreciation of Aegis Trust for coordinating the activities that we are witnessing today and another thanks to the families that joined us today. Every contribution no matter how small gets us closer to the future we hope for” he concluded
Venuste Karasira, one of the genocide survivors gave a testimony on how he survived the horrors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis in which he lost his right arm.
Karasira said that it was hurting to see how the Tutsi were discriminated against before the genocide and the way they were deprived of their basic rights both in education and at work.
“After the shooting of the plane carrying late President Juvenal Habyarimana, many people from around Kigali started fleeing the city and many gathered at Eto Kicukiro where the UN Peacekeeping troops camped as they thought they would find a safe refuge there. However on April 11, 1994 the UN troops packed their stuffs and left us to the mercy of the Interahamwe who brought us here in Nyanza Kacukiro where they started throwing grenades and started killing people with machetes. Karasira recounted
Last year, apart from remembering former employees killed during the genocide, I&M Bank renovated the house of a genocide widow, Mukarubega Virginia from Musambira sector in Kamonyi district and provided more support including a water tank, solar energy connection, home furniture including chairs, a table, and cupboard and bed sheets among others.
To date, I&M Bank has identified 25 former employees killed during the 1994 genocide perpetrated against Tutsi.