Students and staff of the School of Finance and Banking (SFB) on Monday visited the Ntarama Memorial site in Nyamata District, Eastern Province and paid tribute to over 5000 Tutsi who were killed in a Catholic Church during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
According to the Dean of students Marie Claire Uwacu, the visit was planned in order to give a clear picture to some students who were not in the country during the Genocide and to the foreign staff members of SFB of what happened.
“In line with this year’s theme which is ‘Let us commemorate the Genocide of 1994 while fighting against negationnism as we build our country’, we at SFB decided to come to this place and witness what happened in 1994 since some of our students and staff are foreigners who didn’t know what exactly happened,” said Uwacu.
“We also came to reach out to the orphans who live in Ntarama and extend a hand of help to them and give them hope for a better tomorrow.”
At the Ntarama Memorial Site, the custodian of the site, Eusebie Umutesi, took the students and staff through what happened to the 5000 victims who had turned to the church seeking refuge thinking that they would be spared.
“People who had come to this church were from around this area, they tried to defend themselves but were overpowered by the militias on the April 25 1994 when the Interahamwe from all over the country were ferried by buses to this place,” narrated Umutesi.
She said that the Interahamwe, who were armed with grenades, forcefully broke into the overcrowded church with machetes and guns and started indiscriminately killing everyone inside.
“Only eight people among the refugees managed to survive and they are the ones who narrate what happened here.”
Children who were hiding in the Sunday school church behind the main church were also not spared as the killers smashed their heads on the wall where markings of blood are visible.
From the site, students and staff members went to the nearby Amizero Village where 38 families with 107 members who are Genocide orphans live.
Food stuffs worth Rwf750, 000 which included Rice, Maize flour, cooking oil, and beans were given to the orphans and words of encouragement were also uttered.
Addressing the orphans, the Vice Rector in charge of Administration and Finance, Rogers Muragije, advised them to always work hard at whatever they lay their hands on so that they can improve their lives and live to the expectations of their loved ones who perished in the Genocide.
“You have to strive and always work hard to improve your lives because those who killed your parents who would now be looking after you now would be happy to see you suffering, but if you succeed, they will be ashamed.”
They promised to always pay them regular visits and not only during the commemoration period to show them that at least some people out there do think about them.
They also visited Kayumba village in Nyamata Sector where some old widows and orphans live and also gave clothes and food stuffs to over thirty widows.