Abunze Ubumwe means 'the United people'. The association's objective is to prevent and manage community conflicts and to develop mutual support and social solidarity initiatives in order to enhance the socio-economic development of its members and the community.
Main activities and achievements
The association is one of the outcomes of the Grassroots project undertaken by La Benevolencija in Rwanda since 2007. After receiving training in conflict prevention and management and income generation from La Benevolencija, participants decided to form a group called Abunzubumwe. The members of the association have been engaged in extending training in unity and reconciliation to the other community members.
Supported by La Benovolencija, the association used the opportunity of different income-generating activities and brought together people from different backgrounds to work towards reconciliation. The efforts of the organisation have contributed to the achievement of reconciliation between genocide survivors and perpetrators. The perpetrators have been encouraged to beg pardon and the victims were also supported and encouraged to forgive.
Perpetrators and victims successfully working together has led to the identification of bodies and allowed for the victims to be buried with dignity. This has helped survivors not only to know details of what occurred, but also to pay their respects and honour relatives killed during the genocide. The perpetrators also feel a sense of relief from keeping internally destructive secrets.
The association has provided a community structure in the Mukura Sector which enables people to engage in trauma support in their community. This has helped former antagonists get to know each other and listen to each other’s point of view, as well as supporting their socio-economic situation through farming activities.
To demonstrate the impact of the association a member, called Genevieve, has shared her testimony: she is confident and proud to be a member of the Association. Through its solidarity initiatives, she has managed to build a house for Ndererimana Jean Bosco, an orphan who lost parents and other close relatives to the genocide. Hassan Ntibimenya, a genocide perpetrator, was released after completing punishment and is a member of the association. Through the association, he has shared his experiences. The Association helped him meet victims of the genocide he offended and he was able to beg pardon and reconcile with them.
''I, as a victim of his acts, saw his commitment to reconcile and his courage to share the truth. A reconciled Rwandan society can be achieved in the future if initiatives like this cover all of the villages in Rwanda'', commented Genevieve.
Find out more about Abunze Ubumwe on the Genocide Archive of Rwanda.