A meeting of Foundation Rwanda mothers

Children from Genocide rape to get FARG assistance.
, The Rwanda Focus.
12th August 2013.

The repercussions of 1994 Genocide that killed more than a million peo­ple are still felt in countless ways today. Some of the survivors of rape dur­ing the Genocide have later given birth to children face their past daily.

These mothers have fruitlessly ap­pealed for support to their children in or­der to help them receive education and lead a stable life. They have repeatedly re­quested to be integrated in the Assistance Fund for Genocide Survivors (FARG) beneficiaries. This has not been possible due to the law establishing the Fund.

The law establishing FARG highlights that it supports and assists the survivors of Genocide against Tutsi committed be­tween 1st October, 1990 and 31st Decem­ber, 1994. Yet, all children born as a result of rape during the genocide were born af­ter this date.

“When we would stand to request help for our children, our neighbors used to shout saying the child is from Interaha­mwe,” says Mukamana, (name has been changed to protect her identity) an HIV-positive mother from Bugesera whose child is now in senior four secondary school.

The mothers, whose children are now mostly in secondary school, have been challenged since cannot receive assistance for their children from FARG or any other government programs.

While waiting for government inter­vention, these children are receiving help from Foundation Rwanda through Survi­vors Fund (SURF), a British-based NGO. The NGO pays school fees for their sec­ondary education. Yet, the support is not enough for these children and their moth­ers.

A meeting of Foundation Rwanda mothers

SURF has provided counseling ser­vices to these mothers who were psycho­logically affected rape and their resulting children.

Emilienne Kambibi, the counselor in SURF says the NGO is now assisting more than 800 children whose mothers revealed what happened to them, but added that there might be more mothers who have been raped and have kept qui­et, fearing ridicule and stigmatism from society.

Some of these mothers, who, through the counseling, have been able to tell their story, have been requesting for the inte­gration of these children in FARG benefi­ciaries.

“Once we were selected to be assisted, our neighbors said, ‘his older brothers or sisters are assisted by FARG; let others get this chance.’ If we turn to FARG, they say these children are not concerned by the law establishing it,” tells Mukamana.

Mukamana adds that it has been very difficult to explain to children why they cannot be assisted like their older siblings.

Revision of the law

Though the students are now fa­cilitated in their education by Foun­dation Rwanda, the assistance is not enough and not sustainable. Founda­tion Rwanda provides mainly school fees to these children but not for needs beyond that. These children have the right to go beyond second­ary school to university.

Although the law establishing FARG does not recognize these chil­dren, mothers suggest another pos­sible solution to the situation.

“The government should estab­lish another fund which should take these children into consideration and us who, apart from losing our family members and neighbors in genocide, have been raped and had children in unconceivable ways,” says Kampire (not real name), another rape victim from Nyamata sector of Bugesera district, who defines the problem as very big.

After a long time of advocacy, now it seems that their future holds prom­ise. Théophile Ruberangeyo, the ex­ecutive secretary of FARG, told The Rwanda Focus that advocacy by the women has resulted in the revision of the law establishing the FARG. This recent decision has yet to be made public.

He assures that although the new law does not recognize these chil­dren, it at least increases the assis­tance to their mothers so that they can afford to raise these children.

“Apart from getting assistance as well as other genocide survivors, these mothers will get another ad­ditional help so that they can be able to help these children”, Ruberangeyo said. “If we use to give her Frw 10,000 as a survivor, now she will get anoth­er additional amount”, he adds.

Ruberangeyo, who revealed that even the Ministry of Local Govern­ment has another special program for these children as vulnerable, reit­erated that, from this fiscal year these mothers will get grouped and FARG will fund projects to uplift their liv­ing conditions and help them pro­vide for their children.

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