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Rwanda genocide: We are all single mothers; together we are strong

Having fled from the Hybyarimana soldiers to avoid being raped and killed Nyiraneza Jaqueline was totally unprepared when her husband in 2007 was convicted with a 15 years sentence for manslaughter during the Genocide against the Tutsis.

"I was 20 years old when the Genocide began. The soldiers wanted to rape and kill me. I survived by hiding in my Grandmothers house in Gitarama. Later on I took rescue in a refugee camp."

Just finished pruning the bananas in a small plantation behind her house, Nyiraneza Jaqueline tell her story.

"I meet my husband after the Genocide. We got three children. We lived like any other family cultivating our land and making a living.

I was so distressed when my husband was sent to prison. I had to take care of the children all by myself, secure an income for the entire family and protect all of us.

"As a result of the atrocities during the Genocide against the Tutsis there are very many widowers in Gitesi, where I live. I began to talk with them. Their situation resembled mine. We are all single mothers and we have to protect our children and fend for ourselves."

"We formed Tuzamuragaseke Cooperative, mainly for single mothers. Together we are strong. We work together to make an income and we share our worries and get understanding from each other. Sometimes I even feel lucky that my husband is still alive.

"It is from ActionAid’s support that I have learned to stand up for my rights and protect my children. I have even become one of the village leaders."

ActionAid’s support to Tuzamuragaseke Cooperative includes Giseti Early Childhood Development Centre, which provides pre-primary education to over 70 vulnerable children and advancing sustainable agriculture e.g. commercial maize production and milling. ActionAid also assists the cooperative with training programs in business management, cooperation management, human rights, women empowerment and leadership skills. The member’s of Tuzamuragaseke Cooperative are a mixed group of 62 Genocide survivors, widowers and women whose husbands have been jailed for Genocide crimes.