The One Dollar Campaign complex which was constructed to shelter homeless Genocide orphans was officially inaugurated yesterday.
Located in Kinyinya, Gasabo District, the Rwf1.7 billion hostel is home to 192 vulnerable orphans of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi – 96 girls and 96 boys aged between 20 and 23 years.
The beneficiaries moved into the four-storey complex last Friday.
Construction works started way back in December 2012 and there had been concerns over slow progress.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the Minister for Local Government Francis Kaboneka commended different stakeholders involved, especially the Association of Student Survivors of the Genocide (AERG) and Association of former Student Survivors of Genocide (GAERG), for their contribution towards the project.
“We are glad for the support provided by the One Dollar Campaign, Unity Club and other stakeholders who had a vision for this cause and now it has turned into reality. This is an incredible homegrown solution to a problem that the nation faced and is just the first phase of several projects,” Kaboneka said.
He noted that such a project was proof of how collective efforts by Rwandans were paying off. “We pledge continuous care for the boys and girls who will live in this hostel, including moral and other necessary support,” Kaboneka said.
The beneficiaries will be staying at the hostel during school holidays. “I beg all the boys and girls here today to stand united, protect your country and commit to ‘never again’ to genocide.
“I request that those who are about to complete their studies and have already completed to work hard for self-reliance. You are the strength of the nation. You need to be strong, support one another and know that this country is in your hands,” the minister added.
One of the beneficiaries, Theoneste Uwizeyimana, narrated the suffering he went through as a homeless child, a testimony that saw many present shed a tear.
“I have lived a troublesome life with no sense of direction but I’m now happy I have got a place to call home with people who understand what I have gone through,” Uwizeyimana said with a sigh of relief.
Uwizeyimana, who works as a security guard, recently completed Senior Three while juggling books and work.
“Not having a place to stay or call home affected my studies and life in general. Imagine working at night and attending classes during the day. It was hard but I’m happy that that now belong to the past,” Uwizeyimana added.
The construction of the One Dollar Campaign complex was funded by proceeds from a campaign initiated by Rwandans in the Diaspora.
Augustine Kampayana, chairperson of the executive committee of the One Dollar Campaign, said the four-storey complex is just the first phase of the project.
It’s worth Rwf1.7billion while Rwf200 million was used to purchase the requirements for the hostel, he said.
The second phase constitutes the construction of a commercial structure, entertainment centre and sports facility in the vicinity, Kampayana said.
He said the hostel is a home and not an orphanage.
“The beneficiaries will be trained in various skills development programmes and cultural traits. We are working with different stakeholders to build the confidence of these youths and help them build a bright future. And we believe they will have a positive influence on their peers,” Kampayana said.