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From all over Rwanda to Kampala, Bangalore, Montreal, Kuala Lumpur, London, New York and Ottawa, people came together to clean their streets and parks in honour of the victims and survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
In Kigali, several government officials and several Ambassadors to Rwanda joined President Kagame to lay the foundations for a hall that will be used by the community which includes survivors.
Speaking to thousands of residents after the Umuganda, President Kagame called Rwandans to work hard and be determined to continue on the path of development.
“External help must only come as an addition to our own efforts to better ourselves. If we wait for others to develop our country, we will not make progress,” the President said.
He reminded Rwandans that despite differences in beliefs, they all stand to benefit from a developed country.
“All of us have a duty and we cannot give our duties to other people. Umuganda should teach us that if we come together as Rwandans despite our different beliefs or personalities, we shall all gain from positive contributions… As we remember 20 years since the Genocide happened, we see that if we go in this path of togetherness, we shall achieve many goals and reach greater heights,” said President Kagame.
To the north of Rwanda, First Lady Mrs. Jeannette Kagame joined around 3000 residents of Busogo in Musanze District with around 350 youth who were part of Kwibuka Conversation the day before for the Global Umuganda.
They worked on a road and re-constructed homes for genocide survivors. Mrs. Jeannette Kagame also gave 10 cows to needy families in Busogo sector.
In her remarks, Mrs. Kagame encouraged the youth to continue to actively take part in building the nation and said that working together would propel Rwanda forward.
In Africa alone, 20 global Umuganda’s were held. In India, Ambassador Ernest Rwamucyo joined local residents to clean Cubbon Park in Bangalore City.
In the US, Ambassador to the UN Eugene-Richard Gasana joined residents to clean up New York Central Park in an event organised by SameSky Bracelet.
In Canada, the Canadian Association of Rwanda Youth organised Umuganda in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal cleaning up streets in the community.
The word Umuganda can be translated as ‘coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome’. In traditional Rwandan culture, members of the community would call upon their family, friends and neighbours to help them complete a difficult task.
As part of efforts to reconstruct Rwanda and nurture a shared national identity, the Government of Rwanda drew on aspects of Rwandan culture and traditional practices to enrich and adapt its development programs to the country’s needs and context.
The result is a set of Home Grown Solutions — culturally owned practices translated into sustainable development programs. One of these Home Grown Solutions is Umuganda.