Every year on June 20, the world celebrates Refugee Day. According to the UNHCR, this is an opportunity to think about refugees and to defend, protect and promote their rights.

According to the UNHCR press release, World Refugee Day is an international day established by the United Nations to pay tribute to refugees around the world. It highlights the rights, needs and dreams of those forced to flee their homeland.

Rwanda currently has over 135,800 refugees and asylum seekers, including more than 83,000 Congolese and over 51,000 Burundians.

The Rwandan government and the UNHCR chose to celebrate the day at the Mugombwa camp, in the Gisagara district of the southern province. The camp is home to some 12,000 Congolese refugees.

The “Forum pour Mémoire Vigilante” was invited to join other national and international humanitarian organizations involved in the well-being of this population concerned by the day.

Indeed, the NGO FMV, in collaboration with its partners BCT and FCI from TEXAS and CANADA respectively, has been running a school support project for the most vulnerable refugees since 2019. As a result, more than sixty pupils and schoolchildren have benefited (or are still benefiting) from this project.

In addition, FMV is involved in training and peace education, which is directly in line with its mission to educate against crime and provide humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable populations, such as refugees, internally displaced persons, returnees and immigrants who are most vulnerable as a result of crime or conflict.

It has already carried out a number of projects in this area, particularly in the fight against juvenile delinquency, unwanted pregnancies and peaceful intercommunity cohabitation in refugee camps such as Mahama in eastern Rwanda and in the refugee communities of Huye and Muhanga (south) as well as Kigali.


From burden to development contributor…


On Friday, June 21, 2024, Refugee Day was celebrated in Kigali, the Rwandan capital. The public, refugees and asylum seekers, partners, community leaders were invited. There was a round-table discussion on “The role of refugee-led organizations in strengthening solidarity between refugees and local communities”.

One of the panelists, Mr Réverien Gahimbare, Executive Director of FMV, spoke of the NGO’s impact in eradicating poverty in all its forms (material and mental).

“Following peace education for single mothers (refugees and host population), FMV saved a child whose mother had decided to abort at birth”, he recalled, emphasizing the human aspect of the NGO, before going on to talk about the realization of certain projects such as the education of refugee children and community rehabilitation centered on agro-breeding.

“We refugees are not normally a burden on the host community; we (our organization) have chosen to be contributors to the development of the host country, and therefore an alternative solution”, he stressed.

He and other legal representatives of refugee NGOs returned to the challenges of finding funding or responding effectively to calls for proposals that require exorbitant financial capacities. Here, refugee-led organizations need mentors to help them meet these challenges.

FMV expressed its sincere thanks to the Rwandan government through its ministry in charge of refugees, MINEMA, and all partners such as Prison Fellowship Rwanda for organizing this event held at the Gikondo community center in Kigali.

This year, World Refugee Day focuses on solidarity with refugees.

According to the UN agency, “these people need our solidarity, now more than ever. Showing solidarity means keeping our doors open, recognizing the assets and achievements of refugees, and reflecting on the challenges they face”.

UNHCR goes further in its statement of the year. “Showing solidarity with people forced to flee also means ensuring that they have the opportunity to rebuild within the communities that have taken them in, and providing host countries with the means they need to welcome and assist refugees.”

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