You enter the room, and indeed, feel the heart of Rwanda. On April 27, 2011, a group of international young professionals, supporters, and friends gathered at MI-5 lounge in NYC. The event was entitled MURAHO NYC, “GREETINGS NYC” to support SANEJO a US-Rwanda based non-for profit organization which promotes education in post conflict countries.
Many people have heard about the 1994 horrifying genocide in Rwanda which took the lives of more than a million people including Mzee (elder) Joseph Rutabagisha the visionary of Ntenyo School, which was benefactor of tonight’s funds.
Sanejo was co-founded by David Mwambari the grandson of Mzee Joseph. Mzee Joseph and his Ntenyo community started building a school for children in 1960’s. The dream was revived in 2004 when the community started to save small amounts of funds among themselves to re-build mad brick six classrooms which had been destroyed in the genocide.
In 2009, Sanejo partnered with the Ntenyo community as well as an Australian based YGAP to complete this noble dream. 17 years later after Mzee Joseph’s death over 100 guests in NYC came to pledge their support including face2face Africa representatives.
“Such initiatives have huge importance. It is very pressing and needs all of our attention. Who cares about where Obama was born? This is the type of things that need to be on TV,” expressed Amanda, one of the supporters.
When asked what she thought about the importance of education, Shubha who was one of Sanejo’s twenty international and national volunteers last summer responded, “Education opens more opportunities. It is the gateway to success no matter where you are.”
The audience was blown away by a stellar performance from Yvette Rugasaguhunga, a genocide survivor who used a powerful monologue to reflect and revive some of the experiences of the genocide and its aftermath realities to educate the audience.
The West African drumming troupe spiced event with an African Diaspora flavor and forced many to dance to tunes that brought memories of motherland.
Overall, it was a great night filled with music by DC based Rwandan-American DJ Yves Twagirayesu of EncorEvents Djs. Laura, the liaison between Sanejo and YGAP marveled that they only hope this event will serve as an inspiration to many in the audience to be proactive in such initiative even in their own communities.
Sanejo raised a lump sum of around $8000 and more funds were pledged by CEOs of different NYC based companies in attendance. These funds and others raised in Australia, Europe and Rwanda will be used this summer to add three more classrooms and remain with thirteen more to reach five year goal of 18 state of the art classrooms.
To contribute towards and learn more see www.sanejo.org
To view more pictures of the event, click: face2faceafrica.com/f2f-experience/gallery/muraho-nyc-re-building-schools-brick-by-brick