SURF Rwanda team yesterday made a special trip to visit survivors in Nyanza, including meeting with 86 year-old Kangabe Alibera, as part of the 100 days’ commemoration period. We provided 75 solar lights, thanks to the support of Good Gifts. Here is a post by Sam Munderere, SURF Rwanda, Director of Operations.
30th April 2015 SURF 21st Commemoration visit to Nyanza
By Sam Munderere, Director of Operations, SURF Rwanda
Today, SURF Rwanda staff visited a village of survivors in Nyanza District, Rwabicuma sector, Gishilki village, as part of our remembrance of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The sector is located between Nyanza and Gikongoro districts. The village we visited is made up of 40 houses. Most of the members are elderly widows in membership of our partners AVEGA. The village is about 20 minutes’ drive from Nyanza town, it is the smallest sector in size and population in the southern province. Though not very far from the district headquarters, there is no electricity in this Village.
During the 100 days of commemoration many corporations and groups of people like to visit survivors’ villages and deliver supplies such as rice, beans, soap and other items – these are helpful, but supplies do not last long. Villages around Kigali are visited more frequently by different groups during the commemoration period so more distant and remote villages receive less attention, which was one of the reasons we chose to come here.
During the visit we delivered 75 solar lights, 25 of which have a facility for charging mobile phones. Families that have children attending school received two lights. According to the Executive Secretary of the sector, the solar lights with a charging system have the potential to generate income for some of the beneficiaries.
Kangabe Alibera is 86 years and she is the oldest among the survivors living in this village. She has a 16 year old grand daughter she takes care of. “The light will save me money that I have been using to buy paraffin, in fact sometimes we go to bed early because I cannot afford to buy paraffin. This light will also help my granddaughter to be able to study at night with enough light.”
Most of the survivors in this village have no source of income and depend on the sales of surplus produce, when they get a good harvest. Obtaining money to buy basic necessities and food is very difficult, especially for elderly widows who are dependant on others and who can no longer harvest the land or work. According to a recent report by AVEGA into the situation of the aged, there is a higher incidence of poverty among older widowed survivors, than in the general population – 87% of them have monthly household incomes of below 10,000 RWF (14USD).
We are hopefully the solar lights donated by SURF and Good Gifts during the 21st Commemoration period, will help a great deal to reduce the money that vulnerable survivors have been spending on kerosene, that they will provide clean lighting for the widows and enable students to study at night.
Sam Munderere, Director of Operations, SURF Rwanda