Establishing the Byumba Alliance: A New Chapter for Community Connection and Support

On March 18, 2023, a virtual meeting was convened on Zoom, marked by the participation of notable individuals including Gen BEM Emmanuel Habyarimana, Dr. Jean Marie Vianney Higiro, Alphonse Mabuye, and Ernest Rukangira. The primary agenda was to discuss the establishment of an initiative aimed at uniting the Byumba community members dispersed globally. This meeting, beginning at 3:15 PM and concluding at 4:30 PM, not only signified a unified step towards reconnecting the Byumba community but also set the groundwork for future collaborative efforts.

Participants unanimously recognized the importance of forming the Byumba Alliance as a means to address the long-standing need for a platform that could foster unity among the Byumba natives who had lost touch with each other due to the ravages of war and time. The envisioned alliance aims to rejuvenate the bonds formed before the exodus, overcoming the barriers of time and distance that have since transformed familiar faces into strangers.

Reflecting on the past, the attendees acknowledged the role of the Amicale de Byumba, an association that once promoted the development of the Byumba prefecture, particularly in education. In light of this, the meeting highlighted ongoing efforts, such as those by Dr. JMV Higiro, who has contributed educational resources to Byumba, showcasing a continued commitment to supporting education in the region. The discussion also touched upon logistical challenges associated with sending aid, such as books and computers, to Rwanda. The participants proposed exploring more efficient methods, including leveraging NGOs and modern fundraising platforms like GoFundMe, to overcome these hurdles.

The assembly recognized the busy lives of the diaspora, proposing the organization into smaller, focused groups to ensure active participation and effective implementation of the alliance’s objectives. It was decided that the next meeting, scheduled for April 7, 2024, will officially launch the Byumba Alliance. This forum is set to discuss concrete projects and initiatives that will kick-start the alliance’s activities.

A key resolution of the meeting was the apolitical nature of the Byumba Alliance. Despite recognizing the unavoidable political dimensions of Rwandan life, the alliance commits to being inclusive, transcending ethnic, political, and social divides. It pledges to focus primarily on welfare, mutual aid, and the historical documentation of the Byumba community’s experiences during the Rwandan conflict. This initiative is not just about reconnecting a community; it’s about preserving history, fostering mutual support, and building a stronger future together.

This assembly marks a hopeful beginning for the Byumba Alliance, envisioned as a beacon of unity, support, and progress for its members both within Rwanda and abroad. The initiative symbolizes a collective effort to surmount past challenges through cooperation and shared vision, embodying the resilience and enduring spirit of the Byumba community.