By Joan Balinda
As part of the 26th Liberation Day celebrations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in partnership with Rwandan embassies and high commissions across the world, held a series of virtual interactive sessions bringing together the Rwandan community and friends of Rwanda in Europe, Asia, Canada and Africa.
The sessions have been taking place throughout the month of July. During the discussions, senior government officials shared with the diaspora, mainly the youth, the history of the liberation struggle and the country’s achievements in the last 26 years.
“Before liberation, many people inside the country were being killed, tortured, and some others in exile had no rights, they could work to the best of their ability, but their work wasn’t appreciated, they were constantly reminded that they are not in their country. Time came when we decided that we wanted to have our country, where everyone’s rights are respected. We were ready to make any sacrifice. Even losing our lives,” General James Kabarebe, Senior Presidential Advisor on Security, told the audience.
Discussions focused on the country’s history, achievements made thus far, and the role that Rwandans in diaspora, mainly the youth, should play to sustain those achievements.
“As the youth, keep in mind that Rwanda is your country, a country in which you have your rights, but you also have a responsibility to work and develop it in collaboration with others. You do not have to wait for tomorrow, tomorrow is too late, get involved in building Rwanda today,” Dr. Vincent Biruta, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, told the youth.
Since December 2010 in Brussels, the government has engaged the diaspora at different occasions, mainly during Rwanda Day. Rwanda day is a large gathering of the Rwanda’s community abroad, and friends of Rwanda, to reflect on how to find solutions to the country’s challenges as well as to advance the national development agenda. Some of the fruits of Rwanda Day include Rwanda’s diaspora raising funds to support social development activities such as school construction, the One Dollar Campaign, and supporting the vulnerable people with health insurance. Moreover, between 2010 and 2018 remittances from the Rwandan diaspora have also increased 158%.
Government’s efforts to engage the community abroad has remined the Diaspora of its important role in the economic development of the country by promoting tourism, trade, foreign direct investment, creating businesses, spurring entrepreneurship, and transferring new knowledge and skills.
Liberation day is one of the most important days in the history of Rwanda for delivering the country from the shackles of the genocidal regime. The young generation is inspired to emulate the bravery of the young men and women that stopped the genocide. Rwandans in the diaspora are encouraged to keep strong ties with their country by taking part in the main events and increasingly, more Rwandans aboard are exercising their right to vote in embassies across the world.