Kigali, 9 March 2017 – The Association of Student Survivors of the Genocide (AERG) and Former Students who survived the Genocide against the Tutsi (GAERG) will, on Saturday 11th March 2017, launch their countrywide outreach activities – AERG GAERG Week -organized in line with the forthcoming 23rd commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
The launch of the campaign will take place in Mata Sector, Nyaruguru District. The members of AERG and GAERG will also spend every Saturday of March and the first Saturday of April at selected sites in different districts, where they have identified vulnerable genocide survivors to whom various forms of support will be provided.
AERG and GAERG say that this year’s activities will support vulnerable genocide survivors. Individuals whose heroic acts saved Tutsis during the genocide against the Tutsi, will also be recognized by giving them “Inka y’Ineza” (the cow of kindness).
“It's been 23 years that we survived the genocide against the Tutsi and the country has always helped us in many things.Giving back to the country through assisting its different programs is our choice as strong, young and grateful people. We remember those whose lives were taken, we celebrate survivors’ lives and thank those who rescued us.” Olivier Mazimpaka, the President of GAERG said.
“We are grateful and giving back to the community because we survived, not because of our bravery, but through the outstanding courage of RPA soldiers and other Rwandans who sacrificed their lives in order to save us, many of them put their own lives on the line while others paid the ultimate price to save us. We are grateful to them”, Emmanuel Twahirwa the National Coordinator of AERG said.
This year, the young genocide survivors will carry out different activities that include building 11 houses, rehabilitating 15 houses and offering 11 cows. They will also work with local communities to set up 135 kitchen gardens. They will clean 41 genocide memorials and give wheelchairs to disabled former RPA soldiers who were engaged in the liberation war and stopped the Genocide against the Tutsi.
Since 2015, members of AERG and GAERG have cleaned 65 memorial sites, built 17 new houses and renovated 12 others. 21 cows were given and 217 kitchen gardens were set up for homes which did not have them. AERG and GAERG members also paved a total of 13km of feeder roads in the communities they visited.
Note to Editors:
The programme of AERG GAERG Week 2017
- Saturday, 11th March 2017, AERG GAERG Week activities will be conducted in Nyaruguru District.
- Saturday, 18th March 2017, AERG GAERG Week activities will be conducted in Bugesera District.
- Saturday, 25th March 2017, AERG GAERG Week activities will be conducted in Ruhango District.
- Sunday 26th March 2017, AERG GAERG Week activities will be conducted in Kicukiro District.
- Saturday 1st April 2017, AERG GAERG Week activities will be conducted in Nyagatare District.
About AERG & GAERG
- AERG (Association des Etudiants et Eleves Rescapés du Génocide) is an association of student survivors of the genocide created in 1996 at the National University of Rwanda. With a total country-wide membership of over 43,000, AERG provides financial and moral support to student survivors, fights genocide ideology and ensures that students overcome trauma, homelessness and financial problems.
- GAERG (Groupe des Anciens Etudiants Rescapés du Génocide) was founded in 2003 by Rwandan graduate genocide survivors. GAERG aims to create a world where the memory of genocide is alive and survivors’ livelihoods are self-sustaining and dignified. GAERG focuses on capacity building and empowerment through education, socio-economic development and advocacy. The organisation has more than 1700 members.
- Members of both organisations are grouped into families, with a father, a mother and children. This model of grouping them into families came as a mechanism of covering the gap of parents by enabling orphans to raise their peers.
Hashtags to be used: #AERGGAERGWeek2017 #Turashima #Kwibuka23