KIGALI - As part of its “Youth Forum Series” Imbuto Foundation Thursday organised a forum for youth who were affected by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, during which Messages of Hope for the future were given.
First Lady Jeannette Kagame officially launched the fourth youth forum in Kigali under the theme; “15 years and the Re-birth of a Future Generation.” The forum ends today.
In her remarks, she told over 300 young Genocide survivors that the forum has coincided with the mourning period so that they could see that they are not alone in their daily sufferings.
“You have people who can listen to you, who know your chagrin but don’t want you to stay in that mood,” she said, insisting on their endurance during bad times and adding that their presence now is a proof that the evil plan was defeated.
The forum was organised with the aim of helping young survivors in recapturing the dignity lost during the Genocide, healing by moving from the past towards the future and building their capacity as genocide survivors and as Rwandans.
The First Lady, who is also the patron of the foundation, remarked that these young Rwandans are the seeds of hope for the future, and urged them to behave well and not tarnish their image.
“It would be unfortunate to be a genocide survivor and die from HIV/AIDS or be lost in dangerous drugs,” she told them emphasising the need to think and work for a better Rwanda.
The similar message was transferred to the young survivors by the President of Ibuka, Theodore Simburudali, who said that bad behaviour is a big challenge the youth are facing today, which affects the efforts to make their life better.
“We are not allowed to behave badly because the country is looking at us,” he said, noting that they should avoid misunderstandings that sometimes arise amongst genocide survivors over sharing donations.
“These 100 days of mourning should leave us with hope and strength for a better future,” he added.
Aurelien Agbenocci the UN Resident Coordinator acknowledged the failure of the international community 15 years ago in Rwanda, but said that the message was understood and that ‘Never Again’ will not only be chorused in Rwanda but also in the rest of the world.
“I am confident that the initiatives like the Youth Forum will make a difference in this country,” he said as he promised full support of the United Nations to Rwanda to solve youth challenges.
The function also saw the launching of a book entitled “Ishavu ry’abato” by Dukundane Family, an association that brings together former AERG (Genocide survivors’ students’ association) members of College Saint Andre in Kigali.
The book that reflects testimonies of 41 young survivors (who were between 2 and 11 by then) is written in Kinyarwanda and has a foreword by Senator Antoine Mugesera.
Imbuto Foundation and One UN programme pledged assistance in translating the book into French and English.
Imbuto Foundation’s Youth Series was launched last April and has since held three forums under various themes to help young Rwandans grow with a spirit to build a better future.