Despite being away from their motherland, Canadian Association of Rwandan Youth (CARY) will today take part in the monthly community clean-up exercise, Umuganda, in Ottawa, Canada.
The exercise is part of the special ‘Global Umuganda’ being carried out today in various places across the world.
The activity is part of a series of international activities, leading up to the 20th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The community of Rwandan youth has also adopted a street in Ottawa, Canada that they have committed to maintain and clean up all year long.
While mobilising support, Lyse Inamuco, who is part of the initiative, said on social media that Umuganda had been instrumental in Rwanda’s reconciliation process.
“The Canadian Association of Rwandan Youth – Ottawa has taken the initiative this year to join the ‘Global Umuganda’ movement by adopting a street in Ottawa and committing to clean it at least twice a year,” Inamuco said.
The initiative has so far received a lot of support from Canadians and the local community. It also featured on Canada’s national radio broadcaster CBC.
During a talkshow hosted by CBC, Tantine Umurerwa and Louise Umutoni said, like the youth in Rwanda, Canadian youth will participate in Umuganda as a way of giving back to the community.
“We wanted to come together as a community of Rwandans and give back to the communities we live in. This is a chance for us to play a role in improving our respective communities,” Umutoni said.
He said adopting a street shows that they truly belong to the community they live in and that they are interested in making it better.
Tantine Umurerwa, one of those behind the initiative, said Umuganda reminds the Rwandan youth of the dark past and how they have to work together to shape a bright future.
Clement Ndegeya, an advisor to the association, said besides giving back to the community, the initiative aimed at bringing together young Rwandans to celebrate their culture.
“We thought it would be wise to merge the two so that Rwandans never forget their culture,” Ndegeya said.
He added that the initiative presented an opportunity for Rwandans to show the side of Rwanda previously unknown to the Western world.
The association, created in 2011, seeks to unite Rwandans in Canada through forums such as sports and welfare activities. It will also organise a Genocide commemoration event on April 7.