Residents of Nyagatare District have created solidarity associations that have strengthened a mutual support, helping community members afford the cost of funeral services.
The residents gradually save money that eventually enables the bereaved families meet requirements for laying their loved ones to rest, such as coffin.
The culture in Rukomo Sector was sourced from Rwamagana District according to residents who spoke to The Inspirer www.rwandainspirer.com
Such solidarity is one of the main pillars of Rwandan values starting from the founder of Rwanda, Gihanga and the culture is still upheld as it is handed downs from a generation to another.
FidèleTabaro, one of the inhabitants in this Sector of Nyagatare District — who lived in this area after relocating from Rwamagana District in 2012 — faced tragedy when his daughter passed away only after one month living here.
Stricken by grief over losing her daughter, and that he could not afford the burial alone, he witnessed that he was supported by Christians from Rwamagana District who had embraced such solidary values, the culture that inspired the residents in the area to establish the same platform.
“I did not pay anything since they paid everything for the funeral services cost,” he said.
Tabaro immediately spread such a homegrwon practice to Nyagatare District and since then, it has grown to such extent they created solidarity associations.
“In our area, we have created solidarity associations and when one of our members faces tragedy we support one another by paying any cost required for funeral services cost such as coffin by spending the saved contributions. We also pay Mutuelle de Sante for the members through the savings,” he said.
He explained that the culture has been strengthened to a degree where every citizen willingly rushes to back their friends in tragedy.
“Death befalls people without preparing for it and therefore solidarity associations are timely. I used to be grouped in ‘Dutabarane’ Association in Rwamagana district and I replicated it in Nyagatare and we have made tremendous achievements since the inception. The interventions are not only done during death period but also when neighbors are attacked by criminals,” he said.
Solidarity during famine
Tabaro told the Inspirer that they have another saving association called “ Dutabarane” that rescues those facing starvation.
“We collect and store beans which help us to cope with hunger, when it strikes, by giving food to a member as on credit, who gives it back when they have harvested in the next season,” he narrated.
Veneranda Singayirimana, a 58-year-old woman said there is a need for more mobilisation about such a nascent culture in their locality.
“No single person can manage all difficult situations, solidarity is a better solution for that and should be instilled in all people. I commit to sticking to the culture. It should be a lesson to young people who are the foundation for the future generation,” said 20 years old Jean Pierre Imanidufashe.
The mayor of Nyagatare District, David Mushabe Claudian told the Inspirer that the practice is a role model of solidarity both in sorrowful moments and wedding ceremonies.
“We have a solidarity association of 600 members that support one another during burial among many other associations. They also give a hand to one another in wedding ceremonies. We are also part of the association as an approach of encouraging them,” he said, observing that they will continue mobilisation for this initiative which, according to him, other districts should emulate.
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