FOUNDER’S CORNER 2017

Welcome to REACH website and we believe you will be inspired by this vital and life changing ministry. The content provides information that will enable you to understand the mission of REACH as whole. As a non-profit making organization REACH is actively involved in advocating for peace and social justice to the people of the Great Lakes Region of Africa and in Rwanda particular. After the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis REACH has been working with those who have been affected by the aftermath of the genocide especially the survivors by bringing them together with the families of those who killed their loved ones for dialogue, truth telling, repentance and forgiveness in their healing therapy process.

REACH helped also the genocide released prisoners after spending some years in jail to be reintegrated into the Rwandan community again by inviting them along with those they victimized to meet for dialogue, confession, restorative justice and total restoration of relationships. Through this reintegration program, reconciliation has become real, families have come closer and their relationships have been restored. It is very important in REACH’s philosophy and model that the newly reconciled people are given opportunities to stay together in touch; get involved in some activities or projects that will keep them together to strengthen their relationships, build trusts and finally both sides benefit from those projects.

They therefore form their unity groups in order to interact together with one another as they continue to dialogue on any remaining unsolved issues. It is while they work together in these projects that they cement their friendships and become good model for the rest of their neighborhood communities thus they also start learning the importance of unity & reconciliation.

Through partners and friends, REACH does some fundraising from time to time for these projects and once sponsored, unity group members receive the grant to run their projects and work together on a daily basis to generate income for themselves and their beloved families. By so doing they need each other in the value chain of their projects.
However before they start any project, they get some trainings first on leadership, team work, management, book-keeping in order to be able to manage their projects well. They also elect democratically their executive committee so that accountability and transparency will be evident as far as the good management of their projects are concerned. So far some unity groups have been formed are running different projects such as:

  • Raising pigs and sells them for cash – This project demands that members are on site feeding the gigs together and clean the pig sty. They do everything together until they take their products to the market. When they get their money they share it in a mutual understanding. This project is run by 2 unity groups in two sites Kavuzo and Rugando in Kirehe District. The members are made of the repented former genocide prisoners and those whose families they murdered (genocide survivors).
  • Hand crafts making unity group – They make all kinds of hands crafts that they make and sell. They have a big shop where they sell their products and often tourists and other clients stop by to buy their products; they also sell them in Kigali shops and do more marketing for their products. Participants of this project are widows of the genocide, the wives of the genocide perpetrators and those who are returnees from neighboring countries where they exiled for more than three decades.
  • Water harvesting -Under this project genocide widows and the wives of the genocide perpetrators work together to build the water tanks for the elderly people who cannot manage to get the water from the public wells and water center where everyone in the village has to get it from. With these water tanks, they collect the rain during the rainy season. The harvested water is not only used by the beneficiaries but also the neighboring communities thus this project is spread more widely to the community.
  • Building houses –This project came as a result of reconciliation between the genocide offenders and survivors under the restorative justice initiative where genocide perpetrators build homes for the homeless survivors to repair some of the damages they have committed. While the forgiven perpetrators construct the houses, beneficiaries of the houses prepare lunch to share together. So far more than 70 houses have been built and some of the beneficiaries were able to adopt some orphans and formed new families again. Some of the forgiven genocide perpetrators received iron sheets to cover their houses as a part of the project.
  • Rearing cattle –The victims and perpetrators are given some starting money by REACH where they buy cows and look after them. When the cows give birth they now share the cows one take the cow and the other takes the calf. They share the milk together and if they decide to sell they share the proceeds.
  • Soap making unity group in Nyamata – Women in Nyamata made of widows and wives of the genocide perpetrators formed a unity group called “turi umwe” meaning “We are one” and this group was formed after series of teachings and healing therapy where they decided to be reconciled and work together. They now produce soaps and sell them in different hotels and to other shops in Kigali, today they are happy that they can meet their basic needs and provide for their families.
  • Youth center – REACH established a youth center in Kayonza where the youth, being children and grandchildren of both victims and perpetrators come and play together. They do activities that brings about unity amongst themselves like playing soccer, netball and volley ball, sing and dance etc. The center is multi-function and is used for big crusades, meetings, driving school tests, prayers and worships etc.

In all these projects REACH management believes that the unity for purpose is built and observed for the better Rwanda and Africa.  We therefore do invite all the people of Rwanda and from other nations to help build our irreversible peace and integrity among our populations.  If you want to help in some of these projects or get involved with REACH please do not hesitate to reach us either through email or phone, you can also visit our offices.

Yours Truly,

Reverend Philbert Kalisa
August 2017