Ibuka Foundation VP spoke to Andrew I Kazibwe on support offered to genocide survivors Ibuka Foundation vice president
How do you rate Ibuka’s growth since its initiation?
We have achieved a lot through our activities in line with why we exist as a voice for genocide survivors. We do advocacy and promote justice for survivors in addition to being part of Rwanda’s reconstruction process.
Our growth has been a tremendous one. To this day, we are supporting and working closely with the government and concerned institutions on commemoration right from being part of the successful Gacaca Courts processes, to setting up of the genocide memorial centers around the country.
We are also participating in the reconciliation, fighting genocide ideology and denial around the world and rebuilding the country’s social fabric.
How has Covid pandemic affected your operations and the lives of 1994 Genocide Against Tutsis survivors?
Just like communities elsewhere around the world, the pandemic has been of great challenge to everyone.
As Ibuka, through the whole pandemic lockdowns, we have managed to support vulnerable survivors with basic needs through working with Survivors’ organisations around the world like Ibuka Foundations in the UK, USA, Switzerland, Holland, France, Italy and Germany. We also worked with other organisations outside that like the Ishami
Foundation in the UK and individuals, which all have made contributions in support of this cause towards the wellbeing of genocide survivors.
Did Covid-19 containment measures raise concern among the genocide survivors about their mental health?
This is something we had earlier learned of since we had witnessed testimonies of Holocaust survivors, which also revealed the experience of isolation.
This could necessarily not be comparable with genocide survivors’ experience of trauma, but we were sure and emphasised that they were safe. Organising activities like interactive dialogues online, and holding discussions with the heads of genocide survivors’ communities to get closer to survivors, and interact with them so as to make sure they are okay.
We have not encountered a problem along the way, but the general challenges as encountered elsewhere.
What measures are being taken by Ibuka in reuniting the separated Families?
We are aware of this challenge, since those faced by it are all members of Ibuka Foundation, and we have further tried attending to it by making use of first the Genocide Survivor’s Network all over the globe, and indeed a number of survivors have been reunited with their once lost relatives, and friends.
However, we appreciate social media as a tool and a modern strategy we are lately proud to take advantage of in further helping us with reuniting Survivors and lost family members.
What have been some of the major pressing challenges faced to this date?
The main challenge is the growing genocide ideology, especially among the Diaspora, and people supported by different countries, by being given platforms to grow this, yet it is an internationally recognized crime that is against humanity.
Not all countries are doing this, and we are grateful for those who have laws against genocide denial, but the journey is still long getting every country, even in Africa to be aligned to an agreement that this is a crime not to be denied.