One of the dilemmas that faced the government after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was what to do with the tens of thousands of orphans, many of them too young to even know their extended families.
To add insult to injury, many greedy relatives took advantage of the children’s vulnerability and ignorance to grab their property.
Today many are young adults who have managed to pick up the pieces. One of the organizations that played a key role in accompanying them growing up was AERG, an association of students who survived the Genocide and offered each other mutual support.
The most important thing was recreating families for the orphans and AERG was the right vehicle.
When members of the organisation finished school, they felt the urge to continue with their support and created GAERG, the rest, as they say, is history. Many have been helped to go through school through the support of FARG, a Genocide survivors’ fund that has been instrumental in rebuilding the survivors’ lives.
It was realized later on that the government should not shoulder the survivors’ problems alone. That is when members of the Rwandan Diaspora stepped in and created the “One Dollar Campaign which was able to build a hostel for 150.
That was five years ago. Half of the number have now finished school and have to give room to other Genocide orphans who need shelter. Last week they bade their farewells with the government and other stakeholders promises to always stick by their side.
Many are apprehensive of life out there away from the secure environment they had been used to and now need more than just emotional support. They need a push in the back.