A group of students, all members of the association of survivors of genocide against Tutsi (AERG), has established a multimillion fund from which they will mobilise large capital to invest in profitable ventures.
Any investment they will make, eventually, is expected to draw the orphans out of vulnerable groups.
AERG members, now 43,000, from Universities, secondary schools and their alumni community, have agreed each to find at least Rwf20, 000 equivalent to one share in the planned Rwf1.3 billion scheme.
The scheme is named the Youth Initiative for Mutual Support, Investment and Sustainable Development of which a member will own ten shares (worth Rwf200, 000) maximum.
Since January, members from across the country were approached, and they all bought the idea. They have already begun acquiring the shares through two bank accounts open in Bank of Kigali and Ecobank.
By August, members will meet again and evaluate the progress and then launch the project in October, 2016.
“We have two main ideas,” says Jean de Dieu Mirindi, the president of AERG. “We are weighing out between a luxurious nursery, primary and secondary school or a health center in Kigali,” he said.
“God willing, we will also add on a guest house at the touristic holy land of Kibeho in Southern province,” Mirindi adds.
The two main ideas take into consideration the general public and the genocide survivors particularly.
For example, he said, “We are growing up, getting married and we wish to have our children attend to nice schools.” The idea to start a school which would later on, start a university level comes from that vision.
AERG also thinks that a health center will support genocide survivors who have medical problems.
In Kigali, they plan to set their venture in Gasabo district, because their previous project, One Dollar Hostel, also from that district, was successful.
One Dollar Hostel in Kinyinya sector is a complex estimatedat Rwf1.5 billion that hosts over 190 homeless genocide orphans. It was built through contribution of the Rwandan community and is privately managed on behalf of AERG.
Besides that, they believe Gasabo district is suitable for their dream business.
Many similar ventures in Rwanda have failed before they break even, largely because of mismanagement. Mirindi says AERG will not let such a thing happen to their project.
They have set up three managerial structures made of an executive committee, auditing committee and the conflict resolution council.
He says they draw the experience from other successful investments where they employ 30 permanent staff.
Currently, they have a planation and also rear 100 beef cattle and 300 goats on a 130 hectares piece of land in Nyagatare district.
Last season, they grew maize on 27 hectares, and they will soon start harvesting bananas on 5 hectares.
Apart from business, members have philanthropic activities that support widows and orphans to get shelter, and other social support.
A week ago, over 300 members headed to Jabana sector in Gasabo district to build a house for an elderly genocide survivor.
They are also giving one cow to a female retired soldier who fought alongside Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) Inkotanyi in the liberation struggle.
“These activities are very important; trauma cases are declining because we are showing the lonely and needy survivors that someone cares,” says Ruzindana Rugasa, a commissioner in GAERG, the alumni of AERG, which works hand in hand with students to execute projects.