FARG in new plan to shelter survivors

The Government Assistance Fund for Genocide Survivors (FARG) has unveiled a new strategy to provide decent shelter to Genocide survivors within the next eight months.
A Genocide survivors’ village constructed by FARG in Kicukiro district. The Fund is planning to increase shelter support to survivors. New Times/  John Mbanda.
A Genocide survivors’ village constructed by FARG in Kicukiro district. The Fund is planning to increase shelter support to survivors. New Times/ John Mbanda.

The Government Assistance Fund for Genocide Survivors (FARG) has unveiled a new strategy to provide decent shelter to Genocide survivors within the next eight months.

The public will be the main drivers of the campaign, according to the Fund officials. FARG was set up by government 15 years ago to support vulnerable Genocide survivors.

The Fund outlined key areas of intervention that will help change the living conditions of those who bore the worst brunt of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Education  claims the lion’s share of FARG’s budget at seventy per cent. The Fund has spent more than Rwf 80 billion in the last 15 years.

This amount was spent on school fees and scholastic materials for 68,367 students in secondary schools and more than 13,000 in higher learning institutions.

Last week, speaking to The New Times, Theophile Ruberangeyo, the director general of the Fund, said he was proud that “among our graduates, some emerged leaders, including district mayors.”

The official said all but 500 families of Genocide survivors have since received decent shelters. He said the remaining families will receive housing by December.

The Fund, in its latest report, says it has put up about 40,000 houses where some 15,000 were built through direct fund channelled into FARG, and the rest constructed by sponsors, who include charity organisations, embassies and churches.

About 12,000 houses need renovation, including 3000 in sorry state which will cost over Rwf 13 billion, according to Ruberangeyo.

“Some houses were built hastily in 1995 by well wishers since shelter was a major priority; thus no big attention was given to contractors,” Ruberangeyo said.

“We also agree that we were cheated in 2003 when contractors did shoddy construction work on our houses”.

Sourcing contractors, key in housing, features afresh in the new plan.

“We have changed the strategy of contracting to the community approach strategy. Neighbours will contract with FARG to build a house for a Genocide survivor who will be responsible for supervision,” Ruberangeyo said. 

FARG relevance

Despite reports of alleged mismanagement of funds in the past and some sub-standard- over-billed housing for survivors, and crafty contractors pocketing the money, there is a general feeling that the 15 years of FARG have been a success.

Karongi district mayor Bernard Kayumba, a beneficiary of the education funding, attests to this.

“I am thankful indeed, because FARG made me what I am today; the Fund paid my university school fees and without it, I don’t know what I would have become,” he said.

“I know what it means to miss school or to be hungry; when I am allocating support to the vulnerable or when I am serving citizens in my district, I am the most impartial.”

FARG is also credited with health sector intervention. More than 160 Genocide survivors have benefited from free community health insurance, commonly known as mutuelle de santé.

In addition, the Rwanda Military Hospital has partnered with FARG to treat survivors with special cases such as terrible trauma and irregular menstruation periods. It has worked.

Achievements

In the last eight months, 12,000 of them benefited from the medical treatment from specialised doctors from the military hospital out of 18,000 patients with special cases.

At least Rwf45m was spent on these cases in the last eight months, while they would have spent up to Rwf80b on referrals abroad.

“Our specialists are good, they save time, money and patients who know they are their compatriots and have nothing to hide about what they suffer from,” said Ruberangeyo.

“It is more than just medical support, the soldiers that help me consider me as their sister,” said Cécile Mukamana from Huye district, one of the beneficiaries.

Mukamana was rescued from a dump site, where Intarahamwe militia in Nyaruhengeli had left her for dead among corpses. Her spine had been broken and she had bullet pellets in her body.  

She was operated on to fix her spine and remove the bullet pellets.

Since 2006, she said, she is no longer using an armchair, as she can walk for at least 20 minutes, with hope of getting even better. 

During the Genocide commemoration event at Nyanza-Kicukiro, last week, the president of Genocide umbrella group, Ibuka, Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, invited the Army Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, and showered his institution with praises for supporting survivors.

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