PSF CEO Stephen Ruzibiza (with a stone) and Eric Gishoma, the vice chairman, PSF, during the groundbreaking of the construction of the model village for survivors in Rubavu. Courtesy.
Members of the Private Sector Federation (PSF) on Thursday convened in Rugerero Sector, in Rubavu District for the commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and launched works for construction of 32 model houses meant for families of vulnerable survivors in the area.
The business community put together Rwf704 million and held the ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday.
With each house estimated to cost Rwf22 million, the plan is to finish construction by end July.
At Rugerero village, shortly after participating in the ground-breaking for the houses, PSF CEO Stephen Ruzibiza told The New Times that the country’s business community is determined to lend a hand in the process of healing the scars caused by the Genocide.
Ruzibiza said: “Much as we are in the business sector, we are Rwandans. Some business people did participate in the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.
“The business community has to play their role in healing the wounds caused by the Genocide. Our members are going to mobilise funds and other necessary support for the refurbishment of the houses for survivors in Rugerero cell”.
Addressing members of families that will benefit from the scheme and area residents, Eric Gishoma, the first vice PSF Chairperson said: “We came to stand with you in these difficult times, as we remember our loved ones who perished in the Genocide. You must know that you are not alone, and never will be”.
Alphonse Munyentwari, the Governor of Western Province, thanked the business community for their “big hearts” and will to “come and stand with survivors in difficult moments and their effort to build a country of unity”.
“This is support being given, in a more general sense, to the province and to the district, because we also have a responsibility to make this happen. The symbolism is big. It shows us a business community ready to work with the government in national reconstruction efforts”.
The governor pledged his support in ensuring requisite follow up to see to it that the houses are indeed constructed and completed on time.
The PSF team also brought foodstuff for the vulnerable families, each family receiving two bags of rice and a 10 litre jerrican of cooking oil.
Francine Kamanzi, 48, a mother of six, who is a widow, told The New Times that words alone cannot express her gratitude, both to PSF and the government for all the support that is never ending, even in the most difficult of times.
“I am so happy and thankful. I thank our country’s leadership which continues to be close to us. Without this we would be living in utter misery and despair but we remain strong. We feel not left to our own. We remain strong and hopeful, thanks to our government and all the people with big hearts”.
“The houses we live in presently are in bad shape and it gets worse during the rainy season. This gesture to us is something we can’t really find the right words, to thank for. May God bless our government, and business community”.
Another beneficiary is Augustin Mutabazi, 46, a father of four who suffers various ailments due to the torture suffered during the Genocide. Born in Rubavu District, Mutabazi says he lost his entire extended family in the mass killings targeting the Tutsi. After the Genocide he married and gave life another chance. He trudges on determinedly despite difficulties, especially due to his poor health.
“My house is in a terrible condition and this gesture is something we so much thank the government and our leaders for. I am living with disabilities but I have not lost hope,” he said, pulling up his trousers to reveal scars all over.
After the brief visit at the construction site, the delegation continued to the Rubavu District Genocide Memorial where more than 4,800 victims of the Genocide are buried. They joined hundreds of area residents in a minute of silence, and laid wreaths in commemoration of the Genocide’s victims.