April 7th marks the commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, which killed more than one million people. Lasting just one hundred days, it had a staggering daily death count and left many orphaned children behind. The genocide also exacerbated the spread of AIDS and severely damaged the ability of the Rwandan people to help each other. By the end of the genocide in July 1994, the vast majority of the population were living way below the poverty line.
One of FXB’s first participants remembers, and tells us how much his life has changed since 1994.
“My name is Venuste. The population of Gatovu often calls me “Counselor” since I spent 15 years at the head of the Sector. I am the father of six children but I have lost three to the insecurity that followed the genocide.
I am one of the first beneficiaries of FXB Rwanda and I am grateful for that. I am a survivor of the genocide that killed thousands of Tutsis, including my parents, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors.
FXB came to our rescue at the right time. My house and all my possessions were destroyed. FXB first gave me a house that allowed me to return to my land. Afterwards, the organization gave me a cow and seeds. This was the beginning of my life as farmer-breeder. FXB’s staff were with me almost every day: their advice allowed me to turn gradually the page of the genocide.
Before, I used to take all people from other ethnic groups as my eternal enemies, but I learned tolerance, patience and forgiveness. It is probably this change in character that motivated the local authority to place me at the head of the sector. I serve everyone without making any difference.
FXB has helped me a lot: access to water, basic health care, disease prevention … it almost became a right! FXB taught me how to work and save money. The solidarity group FXB created for us is still working. We don’t have any financial problems anymore: when I need help, the group assists me. We are united as former beneficiaries and the rest of the community followed our example. We love each other and help each other. FXB has become our assembler.
Thanks to FXB, my children went back to school: FXB has taken charge of their schooling. My daughter Irene graduated from university a few years ago. She now works for FXB Rwanda as a social worker and Monitoring & Evaluation Officer. She is really my pride! Thanks to her, I am redistributing to other families what FXB has given me.”