Last year when Mutangana Aphrodise, an ICT entrepreneur visited Karitas Nyirabukara a genocide widow, little did he know his encounter would result into an initiative that would bring hope to hundreds of other widows.
Mutangana pioneered Incike, a tech initiative by young ICT entrepreneurs with the mission to use technology to support a portion of the population that was greatly affected by the Genocide against the Tutsis in 1994 which claimed a million lives.
The initiative focused on helping survivors above 70, aims at collecting Rwf 1.4 billion, in 100 days of commemoration to construct houses for elderly widows.
Mutangana told KT Press that he is motivated by generosity, but also the fact that he is also a survivor. He was 9 during the genocide, “I lost many of my relatives.”
Twenty years later, during the commemoration period, Mutangana felt a need to give a helping hand to someone affected by the genocide. He randomly visited Nyirabukara 83.
Quietly listening to Nyirabukara’s emotional story, Mutangana now 29, says he will never forget about the power of generosity.
The idea to develop a life changing mobile crowd funding initiative was then born, aimed at collecting money for the elderly widows.
Nyirabukara told Aphrodise that her husband and eight of her nine children were massacred during the genocide.
“My only surviving daughter was raped and infected with HIV, she passed on in 2000,” narrated Nyirabukara.
Meanwhile, Nyirabukara explains the situation of over 859 genocide widows that struggle daily to put food on the table, according to Daphrose Mukamazimpaka, the Executive Secretary of Association of Genocide Widows (AVEGA).
“More than 300 of these widows are elderly, hence the call for immediate support,” says the Secretary.
When Nyirabukara requested for Rwf 1000 from Mutangana, he knew something sustainable had to be done to support genocide widows.
When it was first launched in 2014, the Incike initiative gathered about Rwf1.7 million, but the approach has changed.
“We later realized that a single intervention was not enough and that our support for this very vulnerable group would have to be sustainable,” says Mutangana.
“Their needs went beyond nutrition and included; clothing and shelter. This is why we expanded the 2015 initiative, to provide shelter, food and clothing for elderly genocide widows,” he adds.
How it works
About four contribution options are in place including sending a text message to *654# and select the amount to contribute daily after every airtime recharge of Rwf 50, Rwf 65, and Rwf 100 per day.
Mobile Money is also used now and one new online contribution through Mergims platform for the Diaspora. Meanwhile, the rest of the funds can be deposited into the account of genocide survivors’ bank account.
So far, more than 1400 people have contributed, through SMS, while the other platforms have received contributions.
“Our initiative gives people the chance to contribute, to practically address problems faced by genocide widows,” says Antoine Louis Muhire, CEO Mergims.
While they await the official launch in two weeks, the Incike initiative aims to build a permanent national donation channel.