Rwandan Revenue Authority (RRA) has stressed the need to help more Genocide survivor students acquire higher education.
Drocelle Mukashyaka, the Deputy Commissioner for Taxpayer Services at RRA, said the body is hoping to expand its sponsorship initiative to more orphans of its former employees who were killed in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, once identified.
The initiative started in 2012, and, so far 10 students are being sponsored at Kigali Institute of Management (KIM). "We do not give them education support alone, but we have committed to fostering these orphans. Selected members from our staff have dedicated themselves to parenting these orphans," Mukashyaka said.
She was speaking at a function to pay tribute to their former staff in Kigali killed in the Genocide. Mukashyaka called for concerted effort in rebuilding a united nation. "Coming together is a sign of unity in building a united Rwanda. We also come together to honour former employees of the then revenue collecting agency (now RRA), who died in the Genocide," Mukashyaka said.
Olivier Munyemana, 24, lost all his parents during the Genocide. They both worked with the then tax collection body. Munyemana survived alongside his brother (now 21) and they are all being sponsored at KIM, courtesy of RRA.
"Before the Genocide, we stayed in Nyamirambo, Rwezamenyo Sector, Nyarugenge District. I and my brother were saved by a family friend who was a soldier," Munyemana said. A military family friend (only identified as Claver) drove them to DR Congo after the killings intensified.
Munyemana said the two orphans were reunited with the rest of the extended family that were staying in DR Congo. After the Genocide, Munyemana, his brother and their uncle returned to Nyamirambo, where the two brothers resumed school. "Life was difficult. Getting school fees and food was a challenge but we persevered," Munyemana recalls.
In 2012, RRA picked on Munyemana and the rest of the 10 orphans whose parents worked with the then revenue body. "I remember the day I received a phone call from Rwanda Revenue Authority. It was such an emotional moment," Munyemana said. Now in his final year at the University, Munyemana is studying Finance, and says he is working hard so he doesn't disappoint his sponsors and country.