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The East African : February 3rd 2014
The EastAfrican MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 1-7,2014 VII d≥ied and futu≥es built “Tomorrow Lost” at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. Picture: Susan Muumbi Remembe≥ing the lost ones, 20 yea≥s on In January, the Kwibuka (remembrance) Flame was lit in Kigali and is on a countrywide tour. Carried in a lamp, the torch is set to light other lamps in all the 30 districts, before the start of the national commemoration week on April 7. Community conversations are taking place in Left, students take an exam at Agahozo-Shalom. Above, inside the physics laboratory. Below, students have lunch in the main dinning hall. Pictures: Cyril Ndegeya each district, offering Rwandans the opportunity to reflect on the events of 1994 as well as the country’s journey since then. Peace education workshops and a countrywide arts competition are also being organised. On returning to Kigali, Rwandan President Paul Kagame will use the Kwibuka Flame to light the National Flame of Mourning at the Kigali genocide Memorial Centre. This will take place on April 7, marking the official beginning of the national mourning period. The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre was opened on the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, in April 2004. The centre is built on a site where over 250,000 people are buried. It is a permanent memorial to those who fell victim to the genocide and serves as a place for people to grieve those they lost. The childrens’ exhibition area, aptly named d to participate siness and nd use her skills try. d, Senior 5 nts and and I had been e to the nature uring the time nds of another used up the would send to hought I would roupe Scolaire e lowest point but more often I had started ms but thank ed me and now instead to help the youth understand their mistakes, take responsibility and make decisions. Education and extracurricular activities Agahozo uses a model of educa- tion where children get formal academic training and informal skills as well as opportunities to hone their talents. They use their skills to benefit themselves, the institution and the community around them. The youth village has 20 enrich- ment programmes, and more than 20 student-run clubs to build leadership skills among the learners; the model is being considered for adoption in other parts of the country. In January, 122 orphans who completed high school education in different skills graduated from the institution. The enrichment programmes provide basic knowledge that the children missed out on in the first years of their education, since most them are taken in from Senior 4 to Senior 6. When they join the village, they are taken through a year of classes such as elements of mathematics, computer skills, languages and life skills. There is an arts and music cen- tre that is equipped with a recording studio, drums and guitar room and a piano room. The centre helps children open up and express their feelings. Some students pour their feelings out in song, a drawing or acting. This helps the officials understand how best to help and handle each student. Transformation “Seeing far is one thing, getting there is another. Let’s come together and find a way to get there.” This statement is written on a wooden plate in the office of the director- in-charge of informal education. It is meant to encourage learners to work together to achieve their goals. Transformation in these stu- dents’ lives starts by sharing their experiences and learning from each other. Interacting with these young people is an incredible experience that leaves a person with renewed hope for the future. The heartbreaking life stories that they readily share create hope and encouragement for other people. The youth village provides an en- vironment where the youth can prepare for a better future. The result is whole, healthy individuals who believe in themselves and make contributions to the community and the world. Dean Karemera “Tomorrow Lost,” gives a glimpse into the personalities of the young ones. One child is identified as Fillette Uwase, aged two, favourite toy — doll, favourite food — rice and chips, best friend — her dad, cause of death — smashed against a wall. There are pictures mounted on the wall of some of the children who died, with their names in large print, their stories cut short. However, there are many young survivors who are orphans of genocide or whose mothers were raped during the genocide. Some of them head a family of their siblings. After the genocide, many children suddenly had to assume adult roles and responsibilities when they themselves needed parental care. Over 15,000 young survivors have no access to school, and efforts to support them have met several challenges. The more grown-up survivors are expected to be at school for more than 10 hours a day, but have younger children to take care of at home. They need food and clothing, scholastic materials and shelter. The government of Rwanda set up a fund called FARG to help orphans to study, but the contribution is inadequate and many of this vulnerable group are unable to obtain adequate support. Of about 3.4 million children under the age of 18 in Rwanda, some 824,000 are orphans. In addition to Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, several orphanages offer shellter to vulnerable children. These include the Rwandan Orphans Project and Noel Orphanage.
January 27th 2014
February 10th 2014