Churches called on to reinforce healing initiatives, comfort genocide survivors

As Rwandans and the rest of the world are observing the 24th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, religious groups are called to play their role in healing the wounded hearts of genocide survivors as well as comforting them in all means of need during and after 100 days of mourning period.

Despite the efforts to enhance reconciliation initiatives and comforting genocide survivors, Rabagirana Ministries which bring together different religious groups discovers some gaps in healing the wounded hearts.

Pastor Joseph Nyamutera, the president of Rabagirana Ministries, said that church as the body of Christ and family to different people has a crucial role in healing and reconciliation.

Nyamutera said previously some churches would stay silent and inactive during the mourning period, adding that it’s high time they committed and concerned to advocate, sensitise for healing the wounded people.

“As we observe 100 days of mourning, we call upon churches, church leaders, ministries, forums to involve in their programs healing concept and reconciliation workshops,”he noted.

Past Joseph Nyamutera, the president of Rabagirana Ministries together with Esdras Bigeyo and Jolie Murekatete, Rabagirana Ministries coordinator during a press conference.

Christians were urged to attend organised commemoration events linked to mourning period such as walks to remember, burial events to remains of genocide victims retrieved in various areas, and night of remembrance.

Esdras Bigeyo, representing University of Rwanda’s Student Associations based on Bible teaching (GBUR), said that the majority of the students at the University of Rwanda were born after genocide and that more lectures on the genocide history are required.

“Some students lack information about the genocide because they missed people who can explain what happened in the country accurately. This affects their hearts and minds. During the commemoration period, it is time they are approached and given dialogues about genocide history, “he added.

Within the mourning period, Rabagirana Ministries will be supporting genocide survivors, and visiting genocide memorial sites.

President’s message

After lighting the Flame of Remembrance-Urumuri Rutazima, at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi to mark the beginning of the Mourning Week and the 100 days of commemoration, His Excellency Paul Kagame said “We must keep rebuilding, increase our strength at every level: economically, security, and ensure our society is functioning well. This will help us to be resilient despite our bad history.”

The 24th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is observed under the theme “remember, unite, and renew.”