Rwanda Youth Campaign for Somalia (RYCS) on Wednesday officially launched a drive aimed at raising funds to assist the starving citizens of Somalia.
United Nations estimates indicate that tens of thousands of people have died in what is said to be East Africa's worst drought in 60 years.
RYCS is an initiative by Rwandan youth to back the government in saving the lives of many hungry Somalis through fundraising campaigns for the cause.
The government recently pledged US$100,000 towards supporting the famine ravaged region.
In a press conference, the RYCS coordinator, Jean Nepomuscene S. Rwema, said that they were inspired to help the Somalis basing on what Rwandans themselves went through, over a decade and a half ago, when innocent people died, with no one to rescue them, underlining that they would stand by the Somalis at this trying period.
“We cried out during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and nobody responded. Now it’s Somalia crying. Should we also sit down and cross our arms? No, that’s why we have decided to respond to their tears,” he explained.
“What we need is to mobilise Rwandan youth and other kind-hearted people from all over the world. We may not save all, but at least one or two lives will be saved in Somalia”.
He noted that during the course of the two-month campaign, they target to collect a total of US$1 million.
The group has already opened a bank account with the Commercial Bank of Rwanda (BCR). The account details in various currencies are 010-5006301-03-03 in Rwandan francs, 010-5006301-0497 in US dollars and 010-5006301-05-94 in Euros.
The officials said everyone is free to deposit money towards the cause.
Rwema disclosed that they would soon conduct a fundraiser involving VIPs, as well as approach churches and various organisations.
A youthful Kigali resident, Jean Pierre Munyakazi, welcomed the initiative saying it would not only help in saving the lives of Somalis but also sensitise the youth to be compassionate, brotherly and supportive to others.
“We should always help each other. Somalis are our fellow Africans and we are ready to intervene”.
The group also plans to use rallies, concerts, road shows to raise funds.