President Paul Kagame yesterday joined residents of Rusheshe Village in Masaka Sector, Kicukiro District for the monthly community work, Umuganda.
The Head of State arrived at the site around 11 a.m. and joined local residents to build 350 homes for the vulnerable.
Later, he delivered a speech in which he encouraged residents to work together to improve their lives.
He advised them to pay special attention to their health, security, and education; three areas that he described as very critical for their success.
“When development is based on people’s contributions, there is no doubt that our country will develop and we get out of poverty,” he said.
Working hard to end dependence on foreign aid was highlighted as the president described handouts as recipe for humiliation among aid receivers.
Though Rwanda currently depends on donors for about 40 per cent of its budget, leaders, with President Kagame at the helm, have vowed to initiate economic development plans that aim to transform the country into a middle income economy and end its dependence on foreign aid.
“There is no dignity in begging. There is no dignity for a Rwandan who depends on aid from other countries’ citizens”, Kagame told the cheerful crowd, most of them young adults.
The Mayor of Kicukiro District, Paul Jules Ndamage, said that vulnerable people who will move into the new homes in Rusheshe include Genocide survivors, Rwandan evictees from Tanzania, and ex-combatants.
The official said that living together in the settlement will alleviate the residents’ vulnerability because they will be able to contribute to each other’s living standards.
260 homes have already been built and transferred to the occupants, he revealed.
Many residents in Rusheshe and other parts of Masaka described the president’s visit as encouraging and his advice as significant.
Cansilde Mukamurera, 62, said that the president was a “good adviser”, praising him for his call for people to work together in solving their problems.
Another resident, Eugenie Mukarurangwa, wished that the president could have allowed the people to ask him questions and spend more time chatting with them. She thanked the president for the visit and wished that he would make more time to visit again.
Umuganda is a Kinyarwanda word meaning ‘coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome’ is a traditional Rwandan practice where members of the community help their family, friends, or neighbours to complete a difficult task.