This week, Rwandans living in Ethiopia handed an early Christmas present in the form of community-based health insurance (Mutuelle de Sante) premiums to 2,130 citizens in Ntarama Sector in Bugesera District. The Diaspora community from the Horn of African country pooled $7,700 (about Rwf6 million) “to be part of socio-economic transformation back home.”
This genial gesture just about tells the complete story about the role of the Diaspora community in the socio-economic transformation of the country. For years, the Government has not spared effort to engage the Diaspora communities across the world through events such as Rwanda Day, cultural exhibitions, among others.
Back home, initiatives such as Itorero also have a big place reserved for the Diaspora community that sees many Rwandans return home to engage with their compatriots on how to take the country forward.
Rwanda, like any other nation, will never completely eradicate challenges of life. There will always be one problem after another dogging citizens. Some of these problems can be easily attended to through social cohesion and the ubumuntu spirit. Like the struggles of the underprivileged of the society to meet socio-economic basics such as access to health, clean and safe water, energy, sanitation, housing, among others.
It is in such problems affecting compatriots that the Diaspora community often come in handy given their stronger economic standing. But for the Diaspora to pull it off, and connect a community with running water in Gisagara, or purchase a few hundred mosquito nets for pregnant mothers and children in Ntarama, they need to inculcate the ubumuntu spirit, patriotism and nationalism among their members.
These are invaluable deeds. And knowing that a dollar contributed when the call came added to thousands of the green buck that eventually built a maize mill for a hard-to-reach community would always be a source of pride to those who contribute.
With the Diaspora, the nation cannot be proud of enough and the citizens cannot be glad enough. Leaders of Diaspora communities should uphold the Rwandan spirit and continue championing socio-economic development from wherever they are.