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A very special home in Rwanda

I don’t believe I have ever met a prouder woman than Delina Mukansengiyumva. Welcoming us in, she can’t wait to show us her home and her small patch of land which she farms in a rural village in southern Rwanda.

Back in 1996, Delina was the first person to benefit from a Trocaire-supported shelter programme which saw hundreds of survivors provided with homes in the years following the genocide in Rwanda.

Delina was just 35 when the genocide began. Thankfully she survived, along with her two children who were aged 10 and 3, but like many others, she lost her family home. Having nowhere to go, they spent many nights living outside, later relying on the kindness of others to shelter them.

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Delina watering her vegetables in her garden. Photo: Josephine Lamb / Trócaire. 

“Some people of good faith were keeping us in their home,” she said. But it was difficult. As well as the typical challenges of family life, Delina’s eldest daughter has a disability and so they yearned for a space of their own where Delina could look after and provide for her family.

Trócaire arrived in Rwanda in the weeks after the genocide against the Tutsi was stopped.

Initially providing emergency support for the first two years, such as helping refugees and those displaced within the country with food, medical care and other immediate needs, the main focus was to help people survive the aftermath of the atrocity.

In 1996, Trocaire then began to help people to rebuild their lives and look to the future. Part of this support included a rehousing programme for hundreds of genocide survivors, including Delina. She was provided with a small house and three goats.

Over the years, she has been able to sell some goats to buy a cow. She then sold her cow and was able to build a small kitchen onto her house, of which she is very proud.

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Delina and her daughter outside their home. Photo: Karen McHugh / Trócaire.

Speaking 25 years after the genocide, Delina says she has good health and a happy life.

She still lives in the home provided all those years ago, along with her eldest daughter, aged 35. Her other child, 28, is married and Delina has a seven year old grandchild.

“Trocaire has been more than a parent to me,” she said. “Today, I farm small vegetables, we eat well and make some income to pay health insurance so we are really grateful.”

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Delina welcoming us into her home in a rural village in Rwanda. Photo: Karen McHugh / Trócaire.


Find out more about Trócaire’s work in Rwanda over the last 25 years, here


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