The Association des Etudiants et Elèves Rescapés du Génocide (AERG), an umbrella organisation for student survivors of the Genocide, has set aside Frw2.5 million to start up a welfare fund for its members.
This was disclosed early this week during the 9th anniversary commemoration for the AERG members of the Universite Libre de Kigali (ULK).
Youth MP Francis Kaboneka and Brig. Gen. Jack Nziza attended the function.
Kaboneka said that the students’ fund would complement the existing government-run Fund for the Support of Genocide Survivors (FARG).
It will also assist survivors who never had a chance to go to school to start small businesses.
“We can not rest when survivors are suffering. We are committed to bringing about a positive change in their lives,” he said.
He added that survivors still lack enough accommodation facilities and gave an example of Huye District where over 30 students are said to be crammed in three small rooms.
He promised to continue advocating and mobilizing for the fund so as to achieve its objectives.
AERG was set up to improve the welfare of genocide survivors in secondary schools and universities, especially orphans and other vulnerable students who are unable to meet basic needs.
Valens Rushingwankiko, a second year law student at ULK, said that AERG members are grouped in ‘families’ and each school has at least four families headed by one of the students.
He explained that the head of the family acts as a caretaker, offering guidance, counselling and generally looks after the welfare of his charges.
Rushingwankiko oversees 14 fellow students.
Gen. Nziza told the students to use the land they own productively so as to help them generate some income instead of leaving it idle.
He urged them to avoid ethnic discrimination but instead become a source of unity and reconciliation which would help them in eliminating the ideology of genocide in schools and the country as a whole.
Genocide survivors are usually assisted through FARG, which pays the school fees of an estimated 50,000 students in the country.