The United States government has extended a $87,000 (about Rwf63 million) grant towards conservation efforts at the Nyamata Genocide memorial.
The US ambassador to Rwanda, Erica J. Barks-Ruggles, announced the grant at the Nyamata Memorial Centre yesterday, in the presence of government officials and survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Ruggles explained that the grant will facilitate training of local experts in artifact and structural conservation at the memorial.
She further explained that while Nyamata memorial will be the biggest beneficiary, the training and preservation skills these experts acquire will help them conserve other sites as well, providing a lasting contribution to the conservation of Rwanda’s historical and cultural heritage.
The US envoy recounted her first visit to the Nyamata Genocide memorial two months shortly after she had posted to Rwanda, describing it as the most powerful experience she has had in the country so far:
“The memory of what happened here and in so many other places in Rwanda during the Genocide must be preserved. The evidence must be preserved, so that no one will ever be able to deny what happened,” she said.
The Bugesera District Mayor, Louis Rwagaju, thanked the US envoy for her government’s continued support towards the cause of preserving the memory of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
He explained that the district has four memorial sites, two of which are managed by the central government, while the other two are managed at district level.
He said the Nyamata Genocide memorial is the biggest, with over 45,000 bodies interred there.
Rwagaju further stated that the process of recovering bodies and giving them a decent burial was still on-going, adding that the grant will also help the district and the country at large in this regard.
The grant was drawn from the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation and will be channeled through the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG).
The fund supports the preservation of cultural sites, objects and forms of traditional expression in more than 100 countries around the world.