Over 780 Genocide widows lack shelter
Rwamagana – At least 785 Genocide widows do not have proper housing with 53 of them in urgent need of shelter in the Eastern Province.
The revelation was made during a fundraising drive organised over the weekend to raise funds to put up shelter for Genocide widows. The function was jointly organised by Provincial authorities and Avega-Agahozo, an association of women widowed by the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The function that attracted members of civil society saw over Rwf 10 million raised for the construction of the houses.
Odette Uwamariya, the Governor of the Province, said the fundraising will go on to try and solve the problem.
The Governor reminded the residents that they were duty bound to tackle the aftermath of the Genocide head on.
“Today, we have widows with primary needs…we shouldn’t be dealing with issues of people’s shelter by now. But the Genocide shattered the lives of many elderly people. They don’t have children or husbands to look after them,” she said.
She called on the residents and local leaders at the ceremony to own the process by renovating and constructing of the widows’ houses.
“I can assure Avega that they don’t have to shoulder the burden alone…we are all concerned. The widows are our mothers and sisters; we shall make sure that each of them acquires decent shelter soon”.
Chantal Kabasinga, national chairperson, Avega, appreciated the residents’ goodwill to help address the plight of Genocide widows.
Kabasinga said that Avega members were fully participating in the country’s development despite diverse challenges. “We could not afford to continue living as liability but partners in development. We have since put the sorrow and tears (over loss of loved ones) behind us and started to live positive lives”.
“I am humbled by the leadership and residents’ concern about the plight of the widows. At least 53 widows are in dire need of shelter, but you can see that a single day’s collection of money can build a few houses. I am so optimistic,” she said.
A local resident, Charlotte Mutunge, said that Rwandans were obliged to help needy widows and orphans in society. “I am a widow but not needy, so I have to contribute. Helping the needy is what should define a true Rwandan,” she said.
Avega was created in 1995 with 50 widows but the membership has since grown to 2,811 women. More than a million people died during the Genocide.
By Stephen Rwembeho, The New Times
Do you have a story or an article to publish? Please email us to firstname.lastname@example.org.