3 April 2018

Rwanda: Genocide - Nyanza Breaks Ground on New Home to 90,000 Victims

Photo: New Times
Family and friends lay wreaths on the graves of victims of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi at a commemoration event ( file photo)

Construction of a new Genocide memorial site that will host remains of more than 90,000 victims of the Genocide have started in Nyanza District and will be completed in the next 12 months, according to district mayor Erasme Ntazinda.

The mayor was speaking at the weekend during community work which saw residents and other partners level the plot where the memorial will be built.

The activity was conducted by Nyanza residents, together with members of the associations of student survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi (AERG) and another for former students (GAERG).

"The construction activities of the Rwf475 million memorial site started in March and will be completed in 12 months, with target is to conserve remains of victims from five sectors of Muyira, Kibirizi, Busoro, Ntyazo and Kigoma because they are currently not well conserved," he said.

He said that proper conservation of remains of Genocide victims is the minimum that can be done to accord dignity to the over one million people who were killed in the Genocide. He added that the conservation is also important for not only Rwandans but the world because it helps keep the memory alive as a way to ensure what happened never happens again.

Emmanuel Twahirwa, the AERG national coordinator, said that the participation in community work for the construction of the memorial site and supporting Genocide survivors was part of activities planned by AERG and GAERG in line with the 24th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Commemoration activities will start at the national level on April 7.

Meanwhile, the youths contributed towards renovation belonging to four houses of vulnerable Genocide survivors in Kibirizi Sector, and gave cows to two survivors and another to a rescuer of Tutsis during the Genocide.

They also set up 10 'kitchen gardens' for 10 households for Genocide survivors.

"This is the fourth time we have conducted such activities that are in line with commemoration and we will now proceed to Rubavu and Nyagatare districts with the same plan," he said.

According to Nyanza District officials, there are over 60 Genocide survivors whose houses need renovation.

"We had planned to renovate 15 houses and now four of them are renovated under the support of AERG and GAERG, this is a huge contribution," said the mayor.

Regina Uwimana, a survivor who was given a cow, said the cow will help her properly look after her four children and get manure for crops.

"I would buy manure every planting season. One heap of manure cost between Rwf10, 000 and Rwf20, 000. I often dont have money buy milk for my children so I am happy for this cow," she said, pledging to take good care of it.

Patrick Ndimubanzi, the state minister for public health and primary healthcare who attended the community work, said Rwandans should embrace such values as those espoused by the young survivors, especially during the commemoration period.

"I call upon all Rwandans to participate in the commemoration activities. The Ministry of Health has prepared personnel and ambulances to be on hand to support any person with trauma cases during the period in all villages of the country," he said.

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