The First Lady and Chairperson of Unity Club, Mrs Jeannette Kagame, has said that Rwandans can only achieve sustainable development if all stakeholders, including government, individuals and development partners, invest in programmes that bring about social cohesion.
She made the remarks on Sunday, shortly after inaugurating two houses (‘Impinganzima’) built by the Unity Club to accommodate 16 elderly Genocide widows who lost their children during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Mrs Jeannette Kagame also laid a foundation stone for the construction of a hostel to accommodate 102 more widows of the Genocide.
The two projects will cost about Rwf400 million.
The two events-in-one, which took place in Mukura Sector, Huye District, was organised in partnership with AVEGA-Agahozo (Association des Veuves du Génocide d’Avril), an association of widows survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
Mrs Kagame said even though a lot has been done to support disadvantaged groups, a big number of elderly Genocide widows still need special and urgent support.
“Giving shelter to Genocide survivors, including these widows, is one of the avenues through which the government seeks to bring sustainable solutions to the social needs of such vulnerable groups in our society. I wish to remind all stakeholders and development partners, that whenever we put in place such initiatives, like providing better housing to the Genocide widows, we are giving them a family,” she said.
Avega president Valerie Mukabayire said the new homes for the widows “is a testimony of love” toward the vulnerable women.
“We thank the government and especially the First Lady who has been walking with us this journey since the establishment of AVEGA.”
Irene Nyiramanywa, one of the genocide widows, recalled that her husband was killed at the University Teaching Hospital in Huye, while the children were killed from home before her eyes.
“I survived with machete cuts… I lived alone in the house, with no one to share meals with, and to share my sorrows with. I feel like jumping right now, because I am so happy; when I look back at those days, when we would only count hours to survive, being hunted like animals… and now we have homes, we have new family members…it is such a joy.” Nyiramanywa said.
Formed in 1996, Unity Club brings together former and current government officials, and their spouses, to promote social cohesion and contribute to sustainable socio-economic development of the country.