HUYE — Students and staff of the National University of Rwanda (NUR) on Friday donated relief items and Frw612,200 to genocide orphans living in the university’s neighborhood.
The items included soap, mosquito nets and scholastic materials like pens and books.
The funds were collected by different students’ associations at NUR. There are over 150 orphans living in several child-headed families in Matyazo and Tumba sectors, Huye District.
Different visiting speakers conveyed messages of hope to the children.
"We think about you," Issa Nkurunziza, coordinator of genocide survivor students’ association (AERG) at NUR, told the orphans. "Don’t be overcome by despair."
Nkurunziza and other students at the University have always assisted about 91 orphans who live in different houses in Tumba cell. The children are grouped into an association called Humura literally meaning "to be relieved."
"It is hard to say," said Assumpta Umugwaneza who leads fellow orphans. "They (University students) are our best friends and we have always benefited from their help since we started this association (Humura)."
Umugwaneza, 26, has persevered as an orphan and she is currently a first year student at NUR’s Faculty of Law. She believes that Genocide orphans need to fight hard to have a meaningful life.
"We are not cowards and we will not embarrass those who continue to help us," she said after receiving a donation of Frw 612,200 from NUR community.
The need to aim higher is the real message that many participants in the visit conveyed to the orphans. They urged them to avoid sexual immorality, alcoholism and dodging schools.
"They have a great responsibility to achieve what their parents did not achive. They need to go to school to have a better life," said Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, NUR’s Vice-Rector in charge of Administration and Finance.
At least 158 orphans benefited from the aid valued at Frw1,030,740. Mobilization of more funds was still on going.
The orphans who were helped in Matyazo cell, Matyazo Sector are grouped into an association called "Urumuri" which literally means light. It is made up of 67 orphans with 55 of them living under one family. They largely depend on food and school materials from Huye District and aid from charity organisations and individuals.
"We are happy with this life because we were living poorly before," one of orphans in Urumuri family said. She is currently 21years, but was first adopted by her aunt before being chased away four years ago.
She said that getting food and school materials are the major challenges for children in their family. She appealed to authorities to build them more houses to shelter the children.