After the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, most survivors such as orphans and widows had lost all hope for the future.
The country’s economy had collapsed and it was difficult to see how it could get on its feet again. 1995 figures show that Rwanda’s domestic resources only accounted for 29 per cent of the national budget meaning that over 70 per cent of the country’s Rwf56bn budget was being sponsored by external donors.
A solution had to be found for the survivors so the Fund for the support of Genocide Survivors (FARG) was established to support in education, health, social protection and others.
To support the fund, government committed 5 per cent of a national cake, annually.
Thamar Mukasharangabo, now 27, lost both her parents during the Genocide. The orphan from the current Eastern Province managed to attend primary school but had no financial capacity to join secondary school until the Genocide Survivors Fund (FARG) intervened.
“The fund started to support me in 2007. At that time school fees was Rwf70,000 per trimester besides other needs. I could not afford to pay such an amount since my guardians who also survived had no financial capacity
She completed secondary school in 2013 and joined University of Kigali in 2014.
The young survivor who graduated last year said that even though she has not yet got a permanent job, she is currently earning from casual work, paying her rent and running some few income generating projects upcountry.
“I thank government of Rwanda for the support. Considering the distress we faced due to the Genocide, it could have been worse had we not had no good leadership,” she said.
In an interview with The New Times, Emmanuel Munyangondo, the Director of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at FARG, said that since its establishment in 1998 there has been an amazing transformation of young genocide survivors.
“In 1998 we had so many young survivors going to secondary schools and few in University. But today it is vice versa because they have grown and joined university level,” he said.
Figures from 1998 to 2018 by June show that in 1998-1999 the fund paid Rwf2.4 billion as school fees for 24,147 young survivors and Rwf40.1 million for 295 students in higher learning institutions.
Figures show that in 2017/2018 there were only 2,248 students in secondary schools with Rwf379.2 million school fees and 14,006 students in University with Rwf10.7 billion paid tuition fees.
Over 882 students were enrolled by the first quarter of 2018/2019 in secondary schools and 11,923 in university.
He said very few students remain in secondary schools especially in senior six except those who might have faced different issues that led them to temporarily drop-out who will still get support to re-join school especially TVETs and Nine and Twelve-year basic education.
“So far, 107,489 students have been assisted with Rwf84.8 billion to complete secondary school since 1998 whereas 33,349 students have been assisted to complete bachelor’s degree at a cost of Rwf89.7 billion. Most of them have got jobs,” he said.
Among the challenges that has been observed in the selection process include beneficiaries who end up on the list under false pretence.
In 2011, FARG dropped 19,514 students, 30.7 per cent of the total beneficiaries, after they were found to be ineligible for the support.