Ubutwari bwo Kubaho association has won the Unity Award 2011, for its effort towards promoting unity, reconciliation and improving the lives of its members.
The award was given to the association by the chairperson of Unity Club, First Lady, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, during a dinner gala hosted by Unity Club.
The Award, inaugurated last year, is issued annually to recognize outstanding efforts of individuals or associations, to promote unity among Rwandans.
Unity Club was founded in 1996 to promote unity as well as contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
President Paul Kagame was the guest of honor at the gala.
He thanked Unity Club for living up to its original goal of fostering unity.
The President noted that there is a lot to learn from Ubutwari bwo Kubaho association, as they demonstrate a clear example of reconciliation.
The association, based in Huye District, was formed in 1995 by 370 widows of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. They were later joined by wives of genocide convicts and together, embarked on income generating projects.
President Kagame observed that the members of the association were courageous to live at a time when most survivors had lost hope of living.
He added that Ubutwari bwo Kubaho association was recognized for overcoming effects of the Genocide, and forging means to live a better life with those that killed their families.
The Head of State noted that the path to building a united country wasn’t easy but achievable.
He further emphasized that it is the path of unity and reconciliation that has made Rwanda a successful nation.
President Kagame, however, pointed out that Rwanda’s progress shouldn’t be looked at as a miracle, but rather a reflection of what a well-led country should be.
He went on to say that all Rwandans, today, enjoy equal rights and opportunities, and deserve to be treated the same.
The President told the leaders that they have an obligation to ensure that the Rwandan people live a good life and are not deprived of their rights. He went on to challenge them, saying that they have to maintain the positive trend, to guarantee a better future for the nation.
Unity Club member, Chantal Biruta, read the citation to Ubutwari bwo Kubaho association;
“You restored hope to those that once lost it. You have been the pillar of dignity and development. Your contribution to restoring a once lost nation is highly recognized,” Mrs. Biruta said.
In her acceptance speech, Françoise Mukagatare, the association’s president, thanked the President and the First Lady for their continued efforts to build a united Rwanda.
“When we were setting up the association, out main cause was to ensure that we live a better life. It is an honour that our cause is recognized on a national level,” Mukagatare said.
The association has 1,700 members of which 730 are wives to Genocide convicts serving jail terms for their role in the Genocide.
Some of the members gave testimonies during the dinner about how the association has changed their lives.