Editorial: There is still time to make amends with children born of rape during Genocide

When the fund for the support of Genocide survivors (FARG) was set up – immediately after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi – it was because the government realised that the survivors had just gone through extraordinary experiences that needed extraordinary healing approaches.

Many had lost entire families and found themselves being the breadwinners in the midst of severe poverty. Others did not know where to start sewing back together their tattered lives.

But some of the most traumatising events for more than 250,000 women and girls was being gang-raped during the Genocide. Some of those who survived found themselves with unwanted pregnancies, or even worse, had been infected with HIV.

The children born of rape are suffering tremendously and are paying the sins of their fathers. Society has rejected them and they wallow in stigma. To make matters worse, they are not entitled to help from FARG because they are not recognised as survivors as they were born after the Genocide had been brought to a halt.

It is a blot on our conscience. FARG was created to help solve problems brought about by the Genocide and children born of rape are some of the problems. This is an issue that has been trending for many years and the children are now young adults. The lucky ones have managed to pick up their lives, others are still struggling.

In normal circumstances, helping such children should not have been a second thought; they are products of the Genocide. In fact, estimated to be around 3,000, the number would have been manageable. But there is still time for FARG and lawmakers to redeem themselves.

Since some of the young adults are still struggling to complete their education they could be helped along the way while others could receive funding. These children are special cases and we should not forgive ourselves that we looked on as they suffered one of the greatest injustices for no crime of their own.

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