Starting tomorrow Gisimba memorial centre, an orphanage that consoled many while they were in need before, during and after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi will change its mandate, but will keep the bond with children.
Three decades on, officials of the centre told KT Press, we have been operating an orphanage but we closed it two years ago after finding foster families for all orphans.
“We will launch a youth training centre tomorrow,” Damas Gisimba, president of Nyamirambo based Gisimba memorial centre told KT Press on Monday.
Gisimba said that the closure of orphanage was in line with the 2012 government policy to have every child integrated in a family, to emphasise family education.
Since 2012 more than 30 orphanages were closed across the country. Buildings for many of them turned idle, but Gisimba has an alternative philanthropic activity which will keep him closer with children.
“We have turned the orphanage to Gisimba after School Initiative – it is a training centre which will bring the youth together for several entertainment and education activities,” Gisimba told KT Press.
“We will have a literacy section for catch up of the youth who did not go to school, music section and review of courses for school children.”
Civic education, child rights and obligations, cultural performances will also be part of the skills at Gisimba Centre.
Already, 150 children are part of this initiative, but children from the neighboring Rwezamenyo and Nyakabanda sectors were also invited to join the centre which has a capacity of more than 200 children.
Meanwhile, to meet the standards of a youth centre, Gisimba memorial centre sought support from philanthropists and Sonia Uwitonze Rolland, Miss France 2000 responded positively.
Her support, Gisimba said, helped them to transform dormitories into classrooms, to refurbish the office bloc and to build basketball courts.
The support is worth over Rwf 40 million, according to Jean Claude Rugera, country coordinator of Maisha Africa, a non-profit organization founded by Rolland.
Total transformation of the centre will cost Rwf 80Million according to Gisimba.
“We are happy that the centre has found an alternative; Gisimba has a great bond with children and for sure, his centre will be successful,”Neema Ingabire a mother of one who lived at Gisimba memorial centre for more than 10 years told KT Press.
Ingabire, a genocide survivor was hosted at two orphanages before joining Gisimba memorial centre when she was in Primary 5.
The centre took care of her, paid her tuition for Primary education and secondary education until she got university scholarship at former Umutara Polytechnic.
She is now a teacher of ICT at Kigali Dove School in Gasabo district.