Yesterday morning, I traveled to Butare to meet with Albert Gasake. I thought it would be just the two of us, we would do a quick interview, and I would be back in Kigali for a late lunch. Much to my (pleasant) surprise, however, Albert introduced me to his whole gang, the Executive Committee of DUHARANIREKUBAHO.
DUHARANIREKUBAHO, meaning “Fight for Survival,” is an organization founded by and for orphans of the 1994 genocide. Founded by Albert, who is now the coordinator, and his colleagues in 2004, DUHARANIREKUBAHO has over 245 members throughout the country focusing on using skills and income generating projects to “take back their lives.”
The mission of the organization is three-fold: to provide a network for orphans of the genocide so that they can help one another overcome trauma and other difficulties; to remember the genocide through yearly commemoration activities and prevent future atrocities; and to assist members in building their skills and generating income.
To get to DUHARANIREKUBAHO’s small one-room office, Albert and Patrick (a member that joined the meeting) took me through La Planete Cyber Cafe which I later learned is a buisiness of DUHARANIREKUBAHO, run by its members, to generate income. In addition to La Planete, DUHARANIREKUBAHO also has agriculture projects and a bee-keeping/honey making business to benefit its members.
Albert and Patrick led me into the office where Fiacre, the vice coordinator; Denise, the secretary; Siraar, the auditor; and Dominique, the production manager; patiently waited for our meeting. The group introduced themselves and were eager to hear more about my work with Survivor Corps and tell me about the structure and projects of their organization.
Patrick took an album off the shelf and gave me a photo-history of DUHARANIREKUBAHO’s growth. The images captured commemoration activities, events with trauma counselors – DUHARANIREKUBAHO works with ARCT-Ruhuka to provide counseling to their members – as well as sports and other fun competitions.
After our meeting, I had a chance to do a few interviews which I will post here as I edit them. I also gave Albert a very quick tutorial on blogging after he gushed about how much he liked my blog.
I couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome from Albert and DUHARANIREKUBAHO. It was exciting to learn about the great work they are doing and to see how the members are helping one another to “rise above and give back.”
Posted By Lisa Rogoff
Posted Jul 29th, 2009