Hardly a week to the end of the ‘one dollar campaign’- an initiative that aims at raising funds to support orphans of the Genocide, Rwf500 million (cash) has been collected against a set target of Rwf 1.5 billion.
Officials in charge of the Rwandan Diaspora Global Network (RDGN) revealed this during a press conference that was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, yesterday.
The 100-day operation that was launched on April 4, this year aims at constructing houses for children who were orphaned by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
According to one of the officials from the Network, Gustave Karara, over Rwf500 million is available in liquid cash but various valuable pledges have been sent in material form.
“Although this is the only visible available amount, we believe that we have in-a-way already met our target. There are various pledges that have been sent and once valued; these can highly raise the available figure,” Karara said.
Among the items he identified were, a water treatment machine which is valued at Rwf3 million (3700 Euros), labour from youth Rwf8.5 million and other equipment worth over Rwf20million.
“There are some other items like household materials that will be provided by the Rwandans in the Diaspora, such as furniture whose estimated value is not available right now,” he added.
Karara also explained that of the available sum, Unity Club, an organization that brings together former and current leaders of the country, contributed Rwf300 million while the rest was contributed by other Rwandans within and outside the country.
However, the contribution from the just concluded soccer match between African stars and the national team-Amavubi has not yet been computed and forwarded by the Ministry of Sports and Culture.
Robert Masozera, the Director General of the Rwanda Diaspora Directorate also explained that the construction process which is set to begin at the end of the campaign will be done in the most transparent manner to ensure that the funds are used for the intended cause.
“We believe that everyone needs accountability of this money so we have created an efficient taskforce that will ensure that good quality houses are set up for these children,” he said.
Officials explained that about 7 blocks will be constructed on 1.5 hectares of land in Kagugu, Gasabo District to house 600 children most of them students who have not had a place to call home 15 years after the Genocide.
They also urged the public to follow up on contributions made by ensuring that the money is sent directly to the campaign’s bank account.
In a related development, soccer players from various countries in the Diaspora also jetted in yesterday to play friendly matches against Rwandan sides; APR, Rayon Sport and Kiyovu.
During the press conference yesterday, the youngsters who came from Belgium, Burundi, Uganda and Ethiopia among other countries, explained that it was necessary to join this cause as a way of reaching out to the children who were orphaned by the 1994 genocide.
Rachid Kayitani, one of athletes was quick to add that it is also vital to connect each child to any other responsible Rwandan they can call family so that they too can be answerable to someone who directly cares.
Masozera responded by saying it is another campaign that is yet to be initiated so that the orphans can have someone to call family.
“When we approached them, many said that besides housing, they also want parental love. We intend to connect each child to someone who cares. One they can relate to as family. This is the compassion they also lack,” Masozera added.
The fundraising project will provide homes for the orphans, especially those in schools who fail to get where to go when schools close for holidays.