The First Lady, Jeannette Kagame has inaugurated five big houses for elderly and needy genocide widows and widowers in Nyanza district.
This morning, July 3, Vestine Mukamusoni 64, a genocide widow, and one of the beneficiaries, was arrested by emotions and sobbed as she thanked the First Lady.
“This is something I had never dreamt of,” says Mukamusoni who spent years running seeking shelter in different homes, many a time not welcoming. Her husband and two children were killed in the genocide and all properties destroyed.
“Its evident that some problems relating to genocide survivors are long term and will not be gone in a very short time, but you can count on our undivided support,” Mrs. Kagame told the widows ” We will not let you die of misery and boredom, we are here to support you in all aspects of life.”
The homeless and needy Mukamusoni, and nineteen other widows, all now have a decent home.
Each house cost Rwf 35 million.
The houses located in Rwabicuma Sector, Mushirarungu cell in Nyanza district were constructed by FARG in partnership with Reserve forces.
The giveaway comes as part of ending the 100 days of commemorating the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Each house has 4 self contained rooms, a shared kitchen, and a 2000litre water tank.
The housing units are modern and spacious fitted with glass windows, concrete floor and a tiled roof. A total cost of Rwf 175 million was spent on construction.
Meanwhile, about 50 genocide widows in Nyanza still lack shelter.
Lt. Col Adolphe Simbizi, Director of Production with RDF Reserve Force says the Force has built 1900 houses for genocide widows countrywide.
But these are the first houses to be constructed for genocide survivors in Nyanza.
The elderly widows’ day-to-day life…which includes medical insurance, food, accommodation will be sponsored by AVEGA; the Association of the Widows of the Genocide formed to help widows, orphans and others who lost family members in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Another association, the First Lady’s initiative called The Unity Club, has helped in advocacy for elderly genocide widows to get good housing and low income generating activities around the country.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Kagame told the youths in the district to help elderly people. “It should be a joint cause for all youths to help elderly genocide survivors overcome the effects of bad history,” she said. ““This way, the widows will face life positively without regretting why they survived.”
Through the unity club, she said, “we will support widows to overcome trauma and also advocate for renovation of their houses.”
Shortly after she sat in her living room with her house-mates and held a friendly chat, Mukamusoni happily told the First Lady that now, “I have a place to call home.”