11 April 2018

Rwanda: Kwibuka24 - Mining Student 'Writes' to Parents She Never Saw

Photo: Kelly Rwamapera/The New Times
Genocide survivors and perpetrators testify about their unity in Rwankuba (file photo).

"To my parents". This was the title of the letter read out by a second year student at University of Rwanda's College of Science and Technology, Yvonne Umuhoza as tears slowly streamed down both her cheeks.

The mining student spoke in a low, husky voice as she read the note she wrote to both her parents, who were both killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

She was only a few months old when she lost her parents, whom she tries to reconnect with through her letter, 24 years later.

Umuhoza is part of a generation of Genocide orphans born during and shortly after 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, many of whom now pursuing their studies at the University of Rwanda.

She read the letter to fellow students and university staff at the College of Science and Technology (Nyarugenge Campus) on Tuesday during a night vigil held as part of the 24th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Umuhoza said that she wrote the note to express how she has fared in her parents' absence and to assure them that she is now safe and looking to a meaningful life, which she attributed to the good leadership of the country.

"What you did not provide to us, the Government of Rwanda is doing."

"I wish you were here today to see the person I have become. I didn't know you when you passed away but pictures and family history has showed me that you were true Christians. Genocide separated us and left me all alone. Though I lacked your care, I want to let you know that I have grown up," Umuhoza said before she broke down.

The commemoration event was attended by University of Rwanda's Chairperson of Board of Governors, Prof. Paul Davenport, Vice -Chancellor Philip Cotton, and Assumpta Ingabire, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government.

The event featured a walk to remember from the College of Science and Technology to Saint Famille Parish where thousands of Tutsi were killed, mainly those that had sought refuge at the church.

In her speech, Ingabire promised the student survivors that the government will keep on supporting them to improve their welfare.

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