If you were asked to compare the youth in pre-Genocide and post-Genocide periods, there is a big difference between the two.
The former are blamed for using their energy to destroy the country by taking part in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi while the latter are praised for helping reconstruct the once torn nation.
During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the country was destroyed and the youth played a key role in that tragedy that left at least one million innocent people dead.
There was, therefore, need for efforts to rebuild the nation and little could be done without the youth involvement.
And the youth have been playing a role in developing the country on various fronts.
Part of them is Rwanda Youth Volunteers in Community Policing (RYVCP), a group of youth who engage in human security activities throughout the country.
The group was formed in 2013 and conducts its activities under the theme: “My Role in Building the Rwanda we Desire.’’
They’re involved in various activities aimed at supporting vulnerable people in the community in a bid to uplift them from poverty.
For Balthazar Hategekimana, a resident of Mugina Sector in Kamonyi District, life was difficult after the Genocide as his house was destroyed by Interahamwe militia who also killed some of his family members.
When he survived the Genocide, he managed to get a house but it was not well built.
Hategekimana’s family is one of 36 families of Genocide survivors who benefited from the youth’s contribution and are today living a better life.
“My house was dilapidated and I was always scared, I always feared that one day it could rain and destroy it. My life and that of my family was in danger,” says Hategekimana.
That was until last year when the volunteers renovated his house and put in electricity and now the father of seven says his life and that of his family has changed and there is hope for a better future.
“They came and talked to me, they told me they could renovate my house but I could not trust them until it happened. They came in big numbers and renovated it and offered me a goat, they promised to give me electricity and I got it shortly after,” he says
“I came from darkness to light. I could hardly get money to buy a candle or paraffin to light my house, but now the light is everywhere, even in the kitchen. I can charge my phone and charge for others,” he adds
“There is hope for a better future; there is a huge difference for the post-Genocide youth. The youth before Genocide killed innocent people while the current youth are giving hope to the vulnerable”.
According to Jean Bosco Mutangana, one of the pioneers and currently in charge of mobilisation and training in the youth group, the aim of the group is to play a critical role in national development by using mainly their physical energy and the financial means they may get.
“We want to focus on building more houses for Genocide survivors and providing them with livestock, be closer to them during this commemoration period and we are putting together financial means to support them,” he said.
Eleven houses were built and handed to the survivors while 25 others, which were in a sorry state, were renovated. The youth also constructed a toilet and set up a ‘kitchen garden’ for each home.
According to a report by the youth volunteers, human security and community development activities conducted by the group since 2013 are valued at over Rwf650 million.