By George Kalisa
Ms Godelieve Mukasarasi, the Founder and Coordinator of SEVOTA paid tribute to H.E President Paul Kagame and the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) for stopping the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and liberating the country.
SEVOTA stands for Solidarity for the Development of Widows and Orphans to Promote Self-Sufficiency and Livelihoods.
“This week, SEVOTA celebrates the 26th anniversary of the liberation of Rwanda. We heartily extend our tribute to Rwanda Patriotic Army under the command and leadership of H.E President Paul Kagame for their heroic action of liberating Rwandans – many died for us to have this peace, security and development we’re seeing today,” said Mukasarasi.
Mukasarasi made the remarks on July8 at Nyarusange Catholic Parish premises in Nyarusange Sector, Muhanga District where SEVOTA members, particularly from Twiyubake group had gathered to celebrate this year’s 26th anniversary of the Liberation.
Rwanda celebrates Liberation every July4, a day when the RPA liberators stopped the genocide.
The organization that boasts of presence in 11 districts and started operations in December 1994 as a response to the ruined lives of the widows,orphans, victims of rape and their children due to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
A good number of women that experienced violence – victims of rape – during the genocide mothered fatherless and unplanned children, and SEVOTA has helped them all the way to reintegrate them in their families and the wider Rwandan society.
“We’re visiting SEVOTA women groups. These groups are led by women that underwent a two-and-half year therapeutic course that impacted positively on their journey of healing.
Mukasarasi said that the beneficiaries of these trainings voluntarily trained fellow women in their neighbourhoods who needed therapy and deliverance from poor living standards due to biting poverty and unemployment.
There were two trainees from Nyarusange who eventually became SEVOTA’s ambassadors and helped others to recover from varying levels of trauma through sharing with them their experiences and lessons from the trainings.
Besides, they (the two women) reached out to women that had for long suffered, in silence, from family conflicts.
“They taught them how to build a peaceful family based on caring love, complementarity, honesty and truthfulness as fundamental values to the stability of families,” said Mukasarasi, “forgiving one another, staying clear of acts of hate based on genocide ideology and murder”.
“All this can help Rwandans build #RwandaWeWant as H.E the President of the Republic always reminds us. Being an emancipated woman goes beyond talking . Women should be passionately involved in activities that improve the welfare of their households and the country at large,” she added.
Mukasarasi said that SEVOTA facilitated a study trip by two ladies, some of leaders of Twiyubake, to Kigali Genocide Memorial at Gisozi and Heroes’ Corner.
“Such trips to historic sites reinforce their knowledge and understanding of the country’s heinous past as well as appreciate the importance of unity and reconciliation,” observed Mukasarasi.
She said that they’re also encouraged to to appreciate the core Rwandan values including, self-worth (Kwigira), being exemplary (Ubudashyikirwa), patriotism, humility and sacrificing for the country even if it costs loss of one’s life.
SEVOTA puts emphasis on other government programmes such as Umuganda, Agaciro and Ndi Umunyarwanda among others.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of Nyarusange Sector, Fiacre Ruzindana, lauded the relentless work of SEVOTA in not only reintegrating the victims of violence and their children in their families but also in uplifting their wellbeing on a sustainable basis.
“As local leaders, we’re grateful to Ms Godelieve Mukasarasi and SEVOTA for complementing the government efforts of ensuring that the victims of violence and their children are supported through various interventions to live normal lives,” observed Ruzindana.
SEVOTA has for the last 26 years been involved in providing healing programmes that have seen victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi recover, trained them to value work and realize their self-worth, and they live happily with hope for a better future,” added Ruzindana.
Ruzindana said that the Girinka programme, which SEVOTA unveiled in 2006 to help its members, has gone a long way to solve poverty related problems, malnutrition, land productivity soil erosion as well as enhancing unity of Rwandans in the post genocide Rwanda. Since the Girinka programme kicked off this non-governmental organization in conjunction with its partners has distributed hundreds of cows as part of the strategies to achieve its mission of promoting self-sufficiency and livelihoods.
Ruzindana urged the residents to abide by the health guidelines put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic such as avoiding unnecessary travels, frequent washing of hands with soap, wearing of masks and social distancing. He said that there was no single case of Coronavirus reported, by then, in his sector.
He called on the residents to continue paying for the health insurance locally known as mutuelle de santé as well as participating in community work also known as Umuganda. Currently, residents are construction schools in their area to save their children the burden of walking long distances to and from the schools located in other sectors.
To this effect, the 26 members of Twiyubake group unanimously agreed to gather at Jabiro Primary school every Wednesday for Umuganda in a bid to speed up the ongoing construction programme.
After the speeches, SEVOTA beneficiaries and staff entered into moments of jubilation, punctuated by singing and Kinyarwanda traditional dances motivated particularly by the exchanges of the calf and mother cow among the group members.
Last year, SEVOTA gave two cows to Twiyubake group, and in principle when they produce, both the calf and mother cow are transferred to other households for keeping.
The household of Reverien Munyaneza and Louise Mukabaziga got the calf while the mother cow went to Emmanuel Bukedusenge and Ancilla Mukarusine.