Remember, Unite, Renew: Kwibuka 25

Posted by Evode Uwanyirigira on 29 May 2019

“Kwibuka” means to “remember” and every year, Rwanda as a country comes together to remember the victims of the 1994 genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi and take part in activities that aim to support its survivors. The official commemoration week is from 7-13 April each year, but commemoration events are held over a period of 100 days across the country starting on 7 April until 4 July. The 100 days of “Kwibuka” represent the 100 days in which this genocide was committed where more than one million Tutsi were murdered.

In line with the theme of Kwibuka: “Remember, Unite, Renew”, Twin and Challenges Rwanda staff organised a commemoration event that took place on Friday 10 May 2019. This included a visit to Murambi Genocide Memorial Centre and a visit to families of the survivors. This provided an important opportunity for the staff to remember the victims of the genocide, stand with and encourage the survivors, learn about the history and the lessons that Rwanda as country has learnt through this tragedy.

At Murambi, Mr. Mugabarigira Stanley, the Memorial Centre Manager, explained to the staff the history of the genocide against Tutsi, and explained how it was planned and carried out in former prefecture of Gikongoro. After touring the memorial centre and paying their respects to more than 50,000 victims who were laid to rest at Murambi, the team visited two families of survivors. These are the families of Libelle Mukantaganira and Therese Nyirahabimana, who live in Cyanika Sector, Nyamagabe District.

Libelle is the elder sister of six siblings. Her parents were killed in 1994, and she’s been taking care of her younger brother and sisters. During the visit, she was happy to host the team and in her own words: “Nubwo ubuzima buba butoroshye, biradushimisha iyo tubonye abantu nkawe mwadutekerejeho mukaza kwifatanya natwe mu bihe nkibi. Bituremamo ikizere kandi n’iyi nkunga muduteye, izadufasha mu buzima bwacu bwaburi munsi.” “Ndabashimiye cyane, Imana ibahe Umugisha.”

This is translated: Though life is not easy, we feel happy to see people like you who think about us and stand with us during such times. It creates hopes and the support you have given us will help us in our daily lives. Thank you very much and God bless.

Neil Walker, Challenges Rwanda Manager, said: “As people who live and work in Rwanda, regardless of the nationality and origin, we have the responsibility to stand with Rwanda in commemorating the victims of this genocide, support the survivors and make our contributions in the development of this country, and that’s why we are here today.”

Therese Nyirahabimana lost her husband and children in 1994 and lives alone in her house.  She was very happy to receive her visitors, and expressed her joy as follows: “Ndishimye ko mwaje kunsura kandi mwakoze kunzanira urubyiriko, iyo mbabonye ndumva nezeree kandi bikanyereka ko ntari njyenyine. Ndabashimiye no kunkunga munteye, Imana ibahe umugisha.”  Which is translated as: I am happy that you came to visit me, and thanks for coming along with these young men and women, when I see them, I feel very happy and it shows me that I am not alone. Thank you for your financial support, may God bless you.”  She gave everyone a warm hug.

Speaking on behalf of the team, Mattia Guglielmi, Twin Head of East Africa Region, expressed his appreciation for having such an opportunity to take part in this event. He said: “This visit has educated me a lot about the history of Genocide in Rwanda, and as an organisation that works with farmers through co-operatives like Koakaka, I am happy that today we were able to visit the members of Koakaka who are also survivors of the Genocide against Tutsi and offer them our support during these 100 days of Kwibuka.

Speaking on behalf of the local authority, Bernard Nkurunziza , the officer in charge of social affairs thanked the team for having thought about Cyanika sector and specifically for the support they have given to the families of Libelle and Therese.  

In Rwanda, coffee is the main foreign exchange earner, making up approximately 30%. Twin is working together with Challenges Rwanda on a project to strengthen the Rwandan coffee market. The project will increase operational capacity and build resilience around the coffee value chain, helping these cooperatives to increase access to international markets.