Rwanda: First Lady Inaugurates Modern Complex to Host Elderly Survivors

Photo: New Times
First Lady Jeannette Kagame joins fellow African First Ladies for the OAFLA high-level meeting held on the margins of the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York.

First Lady of Rwanda, Jeannette Kagame, on Tuesday inaugurated a multi-million complex in Nyamata, Bugesera district which will accommodate about 80 Intwaza - widows and widowers whose families were completely wiped out during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The building is worth Rwf2 billion and was built by FARG, which is an assistance fund for the survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

As of Tuesday, during the inauguration, over 30 widows and widowers had moved into the complex, while other identified Genocide survivors under similar circumstances, will be moving in at a later state.

These elderly Genocide widows and widowers are identified from various districts across the country.

"Such acts of helping the needy and the most vulnerable in our community, especially the Genocide survivors will go a long way in bringing about sustainable development in our country," First Lady said.

"During this time of the year, we remember and pay tribute to the young men and women who liberated our country. We honor our beloved ones who lost their lives during the Genocide; it is also a time that reminds of the task we have at hand to build a resilient Rwanda".

Through this programme of accommodating the elderly survivors pf which immediate families were completely wiped out during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, 134 beneficiaries have found home in different parts of the country.

Such facilities have already been built in the districts of Huye, Nyanza, Rulindo, Kamonyi and Kayonza.

The newly inaugurated complex is the most versatile so far, featuring a business mall, health post and a multipurpose hall among other components to generate income which will in return, be used to cater for day-to-day running of the hostel.

"We are honoured to be called your children and we will keep drawing our strength from your ever-present courage and kindness," she said, telling them to be strong.

Richard Mutabazi, the mayor of Bugesera District commended the central government for continuous attention paid towards vulnerable survivors - saying it is a boost to the area's pursuit for socio-economic transformation.

Bugesera is one of the areas in Rwanda whose biggest part of the population was killed during the Genocide.

"We are thankful to the government and Unity Club which continue to offer a helping hand to these people who have no relative left to rely on," Mutabazi said.

Mutabazi's comments were echoed by Valerie Mukabayire, the president of Avega Agahozo.

She noted the hostels for the elderly Genocide widows have in one way or another given beneficiaries a new lease of life.

"These hostels are ideal for their age and such facilities address their social needs - which improves their quality of life. There are many other Genocide widows out there and it is my plea that everyone joins force in supporting them in such a manner," Mukabayire said.

One of the beneficiaries Belancille Bagirinka, in her mid-80s, narrated of how she endured the painful 24 years alone after losing her entire family during the Genocide.

She would cook and clean her tiny house by herself and for that, she was "aging pretty fast," according to her.

"With this new home; joining fellow elderly genocide widows helps me to share my sorrow and joy with new family members. We have people who take care of us, provide us with food and our beds are clean. I have nothing to worry about now. I can't thank the government enough for being mindful of us."Bagirinka said.

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