17 February 2019

Rwanda: Elderly Genocide Survivors Urge Youth to Protect National Achievements

Elderly Genocide survivors have urged the youth to work hard towards self-reliance, sustain national achievements of the last 25 years as well as dedicate their efforts to build an inclusive nation.

The message was passed during the youth's visit to a model village built for elderly Genocide survivors dubbed "Intwaza" in Nyanza District on Saturday.

There were similar visits by youth in Bugesera and Huye districts. They interacted with the elderly through various community works such as building kitchen gardens, planting fruit trees among others.

The activities are part of preparations for the 25th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The elders shared their experiences about Genocide history and values that the youth should embrace to fight against divisionism so that it never happens again.

Ephaste Ndekezi, one of the Intwaza in Nyanza District, told the youth that divisionism and the Genocide ideology had started before 1994 when some were sent into exile and others tortured because they were Tutsi.

"We experienced divisionism during the first regime when many Tutsi fled the country due to persecution. Those who remained in the country used to face various types of hardships including discrimination in schools, employment among others.

This is a tragic history that should be a lesson to current youth so that you ensure it never happens again and sustain post-genocide achievements in rebuilding the nation," he said.

He told the youth that while the former regime used to inculcate the Genocide ideology among the youth, they should consider the current government's vision of inclusive education, hard work and self-reliance to build the nation and prepare its bright future.

"We are happy to have the presence of youth to hear from our experiences. We used to be in harmony and solidarity but tragedy befell this country when the society was disintegrated up to the Genocide.

We are hopeful that this will never happen again because the current youth are embracing good values of unity and reconciliation," he said.

Melania Mukarugomwa urged them to follow the example of those who liberated the country.

A young lady poses with elderly genocide survivors who are locally called Intwaza in Nyanza District yesterday. S. Ngendahimana.

"The heroes led by President Kagame liberated us and they are the ones who even built these decent houses for us. We live together and get the necessary support we need. We look to youth to be heroes so that they become answers to all problems in the community," she added.

She urged the young people to stay clear from all those who are willing to mislead Rwandans into what could destroy the country again.

Grace Usanase, one of the youth's representatives said they have taken to heart the message from the elderly and will always strive to put into practice all values that build a peaceful nation.

"Intwaza have more knowledge than we have. We still need to learn from the past to know how we can build the future," she said.

Violette Uwiringiyimana, another youth said they had to strengthen channels of passing the message to other youth who did not get the opportunity to visit the elderly.

Diogène Bideri, the Legal Advisor in the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) reiterated that since the youth compose over 60 per cent of the population, they are primarily targeted to become aware of the history of the Genocide in order to root out its ideology.

"They need to learn from the elderly who experienced the bad history so that they know what to do better," he said.


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