Amavubi skipper Olivier Karekezi is planning to set up a Genocide Survivors Fund to help empower survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Speaking to Times Sport on phone from Bizertin in Tunisia yesterday, Karekezi confirmed that by this time next year, a Sports Survivors Fund will be in operation.
“I have been thinking about it for sometime but because I have not been around, I have not managed to translate the concept into action,”
“I believe this fund will be operational next year because I am planning to launch it before the end of this year,”
“I want to mobilise other people to come on board, especially fellow sportsmen and women so we can jointly work towards giving a meaningful life to Genocide survivors,” said Karekezi.
He added that 19 years after the Genocide, Rwanda has made significant progress in rebuilding herself, but many scars remain.
“The legacy of Genocide touches almost every aspect of life for the survivors. In addition to recurring trauma, survivors face multiple difficulties.
“Many are impoverished and face complex health problems, such as HIV and AIDS, as a direct consequence of the violence meted out on them during the Genocide.”
“So the fund will be aiming at assisting and aiding these survivors of the Genocide,” added Karekezi.
Karekezi who has scored 25 goals for Amavubi since his debut in 2000 was struck by unimaginable tragedy during the 1994 Genocide.
Although himself is still deeply affected, the country’s most experienced midfielder says he has used football to drag himself through his nightmare.
“My mother, father and two elder brothers were killed in the Genocide. But that’s all in the past now,” he said.
He has used his love of football to move on. “Football has been so important to me,”
“When I go on to a football pitch, I am able to forget everything that has happened. Football has helped me a lot,”
Karekezi shone for his country at the 2004 Africa Nations Cup, the only time Rwanda has participated in the continental showpiece.
Born in 1983, Karekezi currently plays for Tunisia’s premier league club CA Bizertin, a club he joined after his second stint at APR on a two-year contract towards the end of September last year.
He previously played for Sweden’s Helsingborg in 2005 and scored five goals in 18 matches during the 2005 season. In 2006, he scored 11 goals for Helsingborg becoming the top scorer in Allsvenskan.
In January 2008, he moved to Hamarkameratene. In March 2010, he joined Swedish second division club Osters before agreeing a two-year-deal with Champions APR at the start of 2011/12 season where he helped the military side lift the Primus League title and the MTN Peace Cup.
This season, Karekezi has helped his club Bizertin reach the next round of the Orange CAF Champions League despite losing 1-0 to Dynamos FC at Rufaro stadium in Harare last weekend.
Having lost in Bizertin three weeks ago (3-0) three goals to nil, the Zimbabwean side managed to squeeze in a goal in the five minutes of injury time but that was not enough to stop the Tunisians from progressing on a 3-1 aggregate score.Follow https://twitter.com/BonnieMugabe