It was a sigh of relief for 227 homeless families in Ubudehe Category One across 14 sectors of Gatsibo District after receiving new houses on Friday.
Ubudehe programme is a socio-economic initiative where Rwandans are classified based on their economic status.
The programme, currently has four categories – from the first where the poorest members of society belong to the fourth where the wealthiest belong – helps the government to better align services to citizens.
In the presence of Local Government Minister, Prof. Shyaka Anastase, and other officials at the inauguration event in Marimba Cell, Kabarore Sector, some of the beneficiaries said that they had spent more than two decades without homes.
Marie-Grace Nyiraneza, one of them, said: “I have been homeless for 25 years, I suffered so much that I wondered where I would be buried but at 49, I thank the government for giving me shelter.
Télesphore Bajeneza, 62, who has been renting for 20 years, said he was eventually thought about, and later informed that his new house was complete.
“I rented to the point I lost hope; people kicking me out of their houses because I did not have their money, I would walk aimlessly during the nights with little children, and go to sleep in a house without the owner knowing it.
“Now I sleep well, and wake up in the morning, go to work to bring food on the table for my children. I am really grateful to President Kagame who thought about us the needy,” he announced.
The houses which cost over Rwf324 million were built in partnership with Gatsibo District and security entities operating in Gatsibo, with the participation of residents through the monthly community work, Umuganda.
Richard Gasana, the district Mayor, said they bought iron sheets, doors, windows and cement and mobilised residents and development partners to participate.
Minister of Local Government, Prof. Anastase Shyaka, said this activity of building houses has become a top priority in all 30 districts across the country.
This fiscal year started with a need for more than 11,000 houses for people who do not have shelter, while Gatsibo had more than 400 needed.
Minister Shyaka explained that seeing more than 220 houses inaugurated shows that it is possible.
“After six months, Gatsibo is at 60 percent, and other districts are in good progress too. Even the 200 houses that are yet to be completed here (in Gatsibo) are in good progress too,” he announced.
In most districts, it was agreed that the houses will be completed by the end of March.
The houses, however, are not enough, and Minister Shyaka affirmed that more arrangements are being thought about, and will later be established at the new settlements to make the places livable with kitchen gardens, land for farming and space for business, among others.
Local Government Minister Prof. Anastase Shyaka speaks at the event. / Jean de Dieu Nsabimana
Officials tour new houses in Kabarore Sector. There are new houses inaugurated in every one of 14 sectors of Gatsibo District. / Courtesy
Eastern Province Governor Mufulukye (L), Minister Shyaka (2nd Left), and Gatsibo District (R), sit with one of the beneficiaries (2nd Right) inside the new house. / Courtesy