By George Kalisa
Rwanda’s Minister of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) Solina Nyirahabimana has said that her government recognizes the contribution of the organization of 1994 Genocide widows and orphans (SEVOTA) in restoration of unity and towards the reconciliation process in the country.
Nyirahabimana paid tribute to H.E President Paul Kagame for stopping the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and Rwanda Patriotic Front/Army (RPF/A) for their sacrifice to liberate the country, adding that the widows and orphans celebrating the 25th anniversary are testimony of liberation.
“Let me use this opportunity on behalf the women particularly the widows and orphans of the 1994 Genocide gathered here to celebrate the 25 years of resilience t thank H.E President Paul Kagame and the Rwanda Patriotic Army under his command for stopping the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi,” said Nyirahabimana while officiating the national celebrations of 25th SEVOTA anniversary in Rukoma Sector, Kamonyi District on Wednesday. Over one million Tutsi were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which left the Rwandan society polarized along ethnic lines, thousands of widows, orphans and children who resulted from rape.
Godelieve Mukasarasi, the Founder and Coordinator of SEVOTA said that she was gratified by the accomplishments registered during the 25-year journey of social transformation of the widows and orphans.
“At this juncture, allow me to share with you my accomplishments that are a source of my gratification and delight today. All the SEVOTA beneficiaries were gang rapped by the perpetrators and left for dead and thus my work centred on providing the much needed and long process of therapy to offset trauma of varying levels for the last 25 years,” said Mukasarasi.
“My 25-year experience working with the rape victims is a living testimony that they are a true model of a resilient Rwandans who have gathered self-pity into guts to improve their wellbeing,” she added.
Mukasarasi narrated the woes of the widows and why they were raped.
“Rape was used as a war weapon – like I have already said, thousands of Tutsi girls and women were gang raped by especially Interahamwe militias and soldiers of the genocide regime. Needless to mention, some of them became pregnant and mothered fatherless children” said Mukasarasi. “A considerate number were infected with HIV/AIDS and/or other sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) including mutilation of the genital organs” she added.