By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU & Deus Ntakirutimana
On Monday, 27th June 2022, Spark Microgrants organized a commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi (Kwibuka28).
The commemoration was done under the theme “Remember-Unite-Renew”.
The commemoration took place on 27 June 2022 in Kigoma Sector, Huye District, and was marked by the inauguration of houses renovated by Spark Microgrants in Kigoma Sector and the visit to families of genocide survivors.
All staff joined in a Walk to Remember, the Visit to the Genocide memorial and learning about the Genocide history in the area, laying wreaths at the Genocide Memorial, paying tribute to innocent lives buried in the memorial, lit the flame of Remembrance in honor of over one million Rwandans who passed away during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, visit families of survivors, the inauguration of 6 houses of genocide survivors rehabilitated in Kigoma Sector as well as the interactions with the families of survivors.
Kwibuka28 comes at a time when different villages supported by Spark Microgrants in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and with the support of the World Bank are at the stage where village members are implementing their chosen projects under the Advancing Citizens Engagement (ACE) Project.
The rehabilitation of houses for genocide survivors is part of the commemoration and this was an occasion to visit families of vulnerable genocide survivors and provide them with support to contribute to their rebuilding journey.
Similarly, this activity was an opportunity for Spark staff to reflect on how we all have a personal and collective responsibility to prevent discrimination and mass atrocity and look at the past as well as the future.
Speaking during the inauguration of renovated houses, Rachel Mugwaneza, Programme Director| Spark Mcrogrants says that the renovation work is part of the commemoration since they have a responsibility to provide them with the shelters they deserve.
“A significant part of the families of genocide survivors has been considered with this project following the social, psychological, and economic situation they are facing due to genocide effects. The rehabilitation of houses for genocide survivors is part of the commemoration since we have a responsibility to provide them with the shelters they deserve. I re-affirm that Spark Microgrants partnership will be an ongoing one to ensure Spark impacts the lives of the people in its target communities, especially genocide survivors”, said Rachel Mugwaneza, Programme Director| Spark Microgrants.
For the vulnerable genocide survivors, the renovated houses are a sign of love that Spark Microgrants continues to show them.
Segaju Pierre, whose house was renovated, says that the house is in good condition and will help them feel safe so they can contribute to their development as a family of seven people.
“Before it rained on us but now we are safe. We have nothing to worry about and we have time to think about other family issues but not worrying about the house” Segaju said.
Mushimiyimana Julienne added: “Before this house was so damaged that even the rain found us inside. Now my house has been renovated.” “We, as widows, are very happy. You have shown us love, God bless you.” Mushimiyimana adds.
The executive secretary of the Kigoma sector, Dukundimana Cassien, says the act of supporting genocide survivors is unique to Spark’s other activities.
“We appreciate these efforts. But the beneficiaries also have a responsibility to protect them and avoid anything that can damage them such as cooking inside.” Dukundimana said.
Kwibuka28 aims to remember the lives lost, show solidarity with survivors, and unite to ensure the Genocide never happen again in Rwanda or elsewhere in Africa and beyond.
It provides a platform to learn about the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, its impact, and the country’s reconciliation and nation-building trajectory.
It also aims to raise awareness of the dangers and consequences of hate speech, genocide, and genocide denial. It is a call to action to prevent genocide ideology and hate speech in our communities and globally.