New Houses for 1,500 Elderly Genocide Widows

About twenty years after the tragedy of 1994, about 1,500 elderly genocide survivors from around the country are still either homeless or living in poor, unsatisfactory conditions. The government, through the Genocide survivors fund (FARG), says it is ready to build houses for the homeless and to rehabilitate those which are in critical conditions.

The program groups elders together, in order to facilitate their supervision regarding their living conditions, their health, and their assistance in general for a better, less lonely living style.

In order to make this feasible, Theophile Ruberangeyo, the executive secretary of FARG, says they are thinking of constructing and rehabilitating shared, group.

“These elders suffer from loneliness and lack of care, but if they are somehow together, they will interact each other and it is very easy to be aware of their neighbors’ problems”, he said. Apart from being old aged, some of these widows have other health problems like disabilities, and these should also get special care.

Local leaders, through a video-conference last week, expressed worries that the given budget is not enough to make sure that the houses are sustainable.

For instance, 944 houses slated for rehabilitation were allocated Frw 300 million, a small amount for so many houses. However, Ruberangeyo assured that there is a plan to have the budget increased in the upcoming budget revision.

Gisagara experience

Some districts, like Gisagara, have already adopted the plan. Leandre Karekezi, the mayor of Gisagara district, says that once the elders were living close to one another, it was easy to protect and care for them.

“There even some activities that they can do if they are together. They feel somehow not alone as they could feel if everyone is in his or her own house”, he said.

Inkeragutabara will build the houses, and most of districts have already signed contracts with them. Districts that have not yet signed contracts are requested to do it as soon as possible in order to have all activities starting in all districts.

James Musoni, the Minister of Local Government, appreciated the initiative, arguing that it will help in making sure that these elders are well assisted. He suggested that there be a social worker hired to supervise these elders, providing services like counseling, among others.

According to suggestions from local leaders, each house will accommodate four or five widows. The Minister requested that the FARG establish an overall design of these houses in order to start the construction.

Places to Visit in Kigali City

How well do you know your capital city? Even some of you who were born here have not discovered many of Kigali’s jewels. The Society Magazine team has done the hard work for you and it presents to you the best places to visit Kigali.

Home of art: Ishyo Art Centre and Goethe Institut, Kacyiru:

This is a platform for all artists, arts lovers, culture professionals, activists, critics, entrepreneurs and everyone else who is passionate or just curious about traditional and/or contemporary modes of artistic expression.

Ishyo also hosts different events related to fashion, plays, music and different other aspects of culture. It usually hosts experts from different countries to train and work with Rwanda artists, encouraging cultural diversity and improving skills. It is also home to the Goethe Institut – well known for its movie night every Tuesday evening. You will find a lot more than movies as it also organises brainstorm debates every last Thursday of the month.

Kigali’s skyscraper: Kigali City Tower:

Kigali City Tower is located in the city centre. This blue, curvy building with a protruding stick like part of it at the top can’t be missed as it is our only real sky scraper. It is the tallest building in the country with 18 storeys of well designed architect and beauty.

From the outer look it may not look that big but when you enter, it might take you all day just to see everything in it, ranging from supermarkets, offices, restaurants, boutiques, gadget shops, radio stations and do you know what else? Rwanda’s new 5D cinema is also there.

Mamba Club, Rwanda’s only bowling alley:

There is no way you can classify Kigali City treasures and not mention Mamba Club. It’s located in Kimihurura in front of Top Security headquarters. It is a bar and restaurant and even has several health fitness facilities ranging from a swimming pool, a hot yoga facility and it is Rwanda’s only bowling alley.

Besides the bowling alley and comfortable lounge, there is an area with sand to play beach volleyball. In other words you don’t need to go to Gisenyi to enjoy beach volleyball. Bowling is an American game that is enjoyed by both children and adults. It’s relaxing and fun especially if there are two teams competing.

It is a wonderful place for people of all age groups. For example during birthday parties for children, bouncing castles are set up for the children to have fun.

Kigali Public Library:

Like a diamond that has many facets, Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda has many faces. For those who prefer the literary one, I am sure you cannot leave without visiting the Kigali Public Library.

Located in Kacyiru opposite the American Embassy, the standard fare from everywhere is 200 Rwandan Francs, except of course for those who live in Kacyiru. The building stands proud and majestic facing the sun and proving the UNICEF report that almost seventy five percent of Rwandans are literate.

The library has several sections including children and teenagers and adult sections which all have several collections and reading areas.

The building also has an African section that includes history and literature, an internet café which enables the readers to have access to the Library and a reference section.

Genocide Memorial Gisozi : We Remember:

Most people around the world know our small country as the home of one of the most atrocious massacres that have ever been carried out between brother tribes. The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi left over a million dead and many others wounded. With this background, one cannot expect to come to Kigali and leave without visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

Located on one of Kigali’s hills, the memorial tells the story of what happened in very few words but many pictures and videos Beautifully decorated, the centre stands on the site of 250,000 mass graves. The centre is a must visit if one is to learn the root of Rwandan persistence and optimism.

The oldest buliding: Kandt House:

The museum is dedicated to Dr. Richard Kandt, a German doctor and explorer who embarked on the exploration of Rwanda in 1897, searching for the source of the Nile River.

The Nature History Museum aims at examining the richness of Rwandan nature. This museum showcases many specimen and replicas of natural wonders of the country.

As the only national museum in Kigali, do not dare attempt to leave Kigali without visiting it at least once.

kLab: Where ICT came to life:

For a country that is striking a fine balance between technology, business, innovation and preparing the next generation of IT leaders in Africa is what kLab does. kLab, a community of technology wizards and entrepreneurs is one of the spaces that play an important role in growing and supporting the Rwandan ICT entrepreneurs community. By transiting at kLab, techpreneurs are coming up with viable ICT solutions, being able to sell them and earn a living out of it.

But this space isn’t only for experts, it also has different programs of mentorship, capacity building, networking events and inspirational talks. So let your inner nerd come out!

“Rwanda, our beautiful and dear country / Adorned of hills, lakes and volcanoes / Motherland, would be always filled of happiness…”

Kagame Pays Last Respects to Late Inyumba

President Paul Kagame has described Aloisea Inyumba, the late Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, as a selfless leader, who was ideologically clear.

“She was a very good cadre and ideologically clear, she was more than just a minister, governor, senator…those are positions that come and go; Inyumba was not just another leader, that’s the difference,” the President told mourners at the Parliamentary Building where the late minister’s body lay in state.

Kagame praised the deceased for her dedicated service during and after the liberation struggle, describing her as a “fearless cadre” of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), who put her life on the line for the good of the liberation movement and country.

The President, who said he first met Inyumba around 1985, eulogized the late minister as a trusted and patriotic cadre who had the ability to cultivate a good working relationship with anyone and bring rivals on the same table.

He said Inyumba’s character symbolized Rwanda’s own experience of perseverance and triumph, and urged the nation to uphold her legacy.

“Today we bid farewell to her body, but her values live on,” Kagame said.

Inyumba succumbed to cancer from her home in Kigali, last Thursday, two weeks after returning from a hospital in Germany.

After her first stint in Cabinet, Inyumba went on to serve as the Executive Secretary for the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (1999-2001), during which time the country was going through a critical phase of truth-telling, reconciliation and healing – from the Genocide and its after-effects.

During that period, she actively spearheaded a national adoption campaign to place Genocide orphans in homes.

Later, she was appointed the governor of the Kigali Ngali province before joining the country’s inaugural Senate in 2004, and in May 2011 reappointed to Cabinet.

She spent her last days urging the public to adopt children from orphanages and to raise them as their own, with the view of phasing out orphanages.

The President talked of how he practically forced Inyumba to take medical leave after she had insisted on accomplishing certain official responsibilities.

Mourners formed a long line to view the body of the late minister in a casket draped in national colours, before they headed to Christian Life Assembly (CLA) church for funeral service ahead of burial at Rusororo cemetery in Gasabo District.

Earlier, Cabinet Affairs minister Protais Musoni eulogized Inyumba on behalf of those who had worked with the fallen minister over the years, as did the central bank vice governor and chairperson of Unity Club (association of current and former senior leaders and their spouses), Monique Nsanzabaganwa.

They both described her as a heroine, and exceptional and charismatic leader, who will be dearly missed.

Inyumba is survived by a husband (Richard Masozera, the head of the Civil Aviation Authority) and two children, aged 15 (girl) and 10 (boy).

Rwanda’s HIV Infection Rate Down 50 Percent – UNAIDS

Twenty five low- and middle-income countries, including Rwanda, have managed to halve their rate of new HIV infections since 2001, UNAIDS said in its annual report on the state of the global pandemic.

The UN body’s World AIDS Day Report 2012 shows that in the last ten years, the landscape of national HIV epidemics has changed dramatically, for the better in most countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

Countries are making historic gains towards ending the AIDS epidemic: 700,000 fewer new HIV infections across the world in 2011 than in 2001, it says.

Rwanda, Gabon, and Togo, are some of the countries which achieved significant declines of more than 50%, according to the report.

“We are moving from despair to hope,” Michel Sidibe, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, said in Geneva, pointing out that around half of all reductions in new HIV infections in the past two years had been among children.

“It is becoming evident that achieving zero new HIV infections in children is possible,” he said.

Globally, new HIV infections fell to 2.5 million last year from 2.6 million in 2010 and represented a 20-percent drop from 2001, according to UNAIDS.

“The pace of progress is quickening. What used to take a decade is now being achieved in 24 months,” Sidibe said.

Particular progress had been made in bringing down the number of children newly infected with HIV.

Last year, 330,000 children worldwide were infected with the virus that causes AIDS, down from 370,000 in 2010, and 43 percent fewer than in 2003.

And in sub-Saharan Africa — a region that is today home to 90 percent of the world’s infected youngsters — the number of children newly infected with the virus dropped by 24 percent between 2009 and 2011 alone.

Sub-Saharan Africa has cut the number of people dying of AIDS-related causes by 32% between 2005 and 2011.

In 2011, 1.7 million people died from AIDS-related causes worldwide — down 24 percent from 2005 and nearly six percent below the 2010 level, according to the report released ahead of this year’s World AIDS Day marked on December 1.

Rwanda’s richest businesswoman worth Rwf 2b

With only Rwf 3500, four old chairs and two tables previously solicited from family and friends, in a small garage in Gikondo, Zulfat Mukarubega started a restaurant. The year was 1979. Last year, over 30 years later Zulfat’s business entity, the Rwanda Tourism University College (RTUC) was listed the seventh biggest local investment registered. According to RDB with about $15.7 million (Rwf9.4 billion), she is now intending to expand her interest in real estate and construction activities. With this investment, she is probably Rwanda’s richest female entrepreneur. In an interview with The Chronicles’ Matthew Rwahigi she talks about her journey through the business world and the muddy waters she swam to success. Below are the excerpts.

Take us through the journey of your business life…
When I started it wasn’t common for a woman to do business. I had saved Rwf5,000 from my previous employment where I worked as a secretary in Gikondo. In this place there were a number of warehouses and those who manned them didn’t have a lot of choices for meals. With my savings, utensils from my home and furniture from friends and family I started off a business with only Rwf3, 500 as operational capital.

I bought the essentials and started to serve breakfast. The profits went on to cater for lunch requirements. After a year, I went into merchandising. I developed ‘hunger’ for changing the impression about customer care in restaurants and hotels. The idea of RTUC (Rwanda Tourism University College) was born and it was and still the first of its kind.

RTUC now offers technical, theoretical and practice knowledge to those involved in service delivery which involves short courses and degrees for hoteliers plus a degree in Business Information Technology.  We now have more than 2500 students.

How much is your business worth at present?

In the previous year of 2011, my business was worth Rwf2.2 billion but I expect that the value has gone up.

That’s a lot. Where do you get the money to run this business?

Money is never a problem in running a business; all that matters is planning. Personally I focus on using the little money I have and let the support come in later from banks and elsewhere. I have also had support from government which sponsors some of the students at the university.

How many people do you employ?

Our work force is now composed of 124 employees working in both the Kigali and Gisenyi campuses.

When did you get your first one million Francs?
Because of the strategies I was using and the efforts I invested in minimising my expenses in business, I hit the one million mark a little sooner. Like for the whole first year in business, I used to walk about twelve kilometres to and from my home in Nyamirambo. My work place was in Gikondo. This was because I needed to save.

What did you use it with?

Of course I did not try to improve my family’s living standards in haste. Instead, I saw another opportunity in merchandising.

You were registered as one of the biggest investors in 2011, how big is the investment?
The money I injected in business in 2011 was around Rwf500 million.

What is your secret to success?

The secret is categorised in two. First … identifying one’s potential and the field in which they can best exploit that potential. The other was starting a business in the best interests of solving certain problems that existed in our society. This is different from starting a business because you want to make money.

Are there problems you have encountered in your business life that you think were as a result of being a woman?
I would tell people about this project and rather than professionally criticise it, they would tell me that “uwo numurengwe wabagore bafashe kugafaranga” (my idea is day dreaming. It’s being ambitious because you have gotten some little money). This could at times discourage me but later I could rise and pursue my dreams.

How do you manage family and work?

First of all, I am a divorced woman. I have been divorced since 2000. Sometimes you know certain ambitions can cost you in one way or another. My children are grown up, the youngest is sixteen years old. We do everything together, so there is no problem in handling both family and work. It is important that women understand that equality does not mean ceasing to respect their husbands but it is a way of helping them to build a better home . Some men end up thinking that a rich woman is a threat rather than an opportunity to their families.

Why aren’t there many Rwandan women in business?
There are very few entrepreneurs in general. But for women, many of them fail to create new ideas mainly because they want to have things the easy way. They do what others have done thinking that these things will give them similar results. On the contrary, practice has revealed that women can actually do much more than ever was expected.

Where do you see the Rwandan businesswoman in the next five years?
I can best speculate by looking at what Rwandan businesswomen have achieved in the past five years. When I had just started the RTUC project in 2006, bankers told me, “this is a man’s project and so we cannot finance a woman to do it because we are not sure she can succeed at it”. But even under such conditions, women have fully been productive in business to the extent that a woman receives credit for a big investment, beating men to it. This means that in Rwanda today, with a President who has fully supported women’s participation in all sectors; in five years to come enterprises run by women might be the majority.

Women commit to dev’t programmes

By Charles Kwizera


Minister Aloisea Inyumba

Members of the Kigali City National Council for Women (CNF) have resolved to actively promote government development programmes, especially at the grassroots.

The women made the promise last week at the closure of the group’s annual general assembly. The body is constituted of women committees from the cell level in the City of Kigali.

They agreed to spearhead campaigns to improve health in their homes, fight Gender Based Violence, promote justice, participate in good governance as well as improve their own economic status.

Speaking to The New Times, CNF Coordinator in Kigali City, Alice Ababo, said they agreed to increase the momentum in the fight against malnutrition.

“We want to focus on improving the health of children and women, right from the grassroots level,” said Ababo.

The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Aloysia Inyumba, urged the group to use their leadership positions to enhance the welfare of the fellow women. She further asked them to seize the opportunity of the country’s good leadership that values women and utilise it to develop themselves.