When some students from Green Hills Academy saw ex-combatants and casualties of Rwanda’s liberation war struggling to ride their wheelchairs on a marram road in Nyarugunga Sector which connects to the main tarmac road in Kanombe, they were moved.
They took it upon themselves to inspire the rehabilitation of the road, which is the main link to the homes of the war veterans.
The idea was initiated by five students from the Nyarurutarama-based Green Hills Academy – Cindy Uwase, Divin Lionel Dushimimana, Amri Sued Keisha, Nina Umutesi, and Eva Bigagaza.
They visited the veterans and delivered their wish to rehabilitate the road, which had become dilapidated.
Green Hills students pose with Gaetan Kayitare (in wheelchair), the head of the war veterans in Mukoni, Nyarugunga Sector, Kicukiro District. Joan Mbabazi
The ex-combatants were stunned, wondering where such young people would get the money from, but nonetheless gave the youth the benefit of doubt.
Although the students never had money, they were determined to put a smile on the faces of their heroes.
In November last year, the students pitched their idea to John Kagaba, the head of Mukoni village, Nyarugunga Sector.
“We were ready to render any form support towards the construction of the road that leads to the veteran’s homes,” Bigagaza, one of the students said.
Kagaba informed them that it has always been his wish to work on that road, but unfortunately he lacked support, she added.
After receiving a nod from the authorities, the students embarked on a fundraising exercise at their school, homes and among friends.
They were able to raise Rwf2 million, which they used to buy pavements. They also mobilised their colleagues to participate in form of providing the needed labour to lay the pavers.
On his part, Kagaba too, managed to secure support from residents of Mukoni, in terms of money, labour, trucks and other construction machines. In total, they raised a combined Rwf6.7 million.
Gaetan Kayitare, the head of war veterans who comprise 16 families, said; “I am more than grateful to see students at just 16 years of age, so committed to see us move easily without straining.”
I am assured that the generation we are leaving behind is hardworking and patriotic, he noted.
“They will follow in our footsteps. If young people take part in activities that develop the community, there won’t be time for them to engage in useless acts,” he said.
He described the move by the students as an act of patriotism, which young and old people alike should emulate.