About The Founder
Eric E. Murangwa, former Rwandan footballer, founded Football for Hope, Peace & Unity in 2010. He wanted to use his love and experience of football to serve his community, and worked together with both fellow Rwandans and non-Rwandans to create this group. They intend to be positive role models for both the youth and families of Rwanda and the Great Lakes region, and help them build a strong and stable society.
He has spent almost his whole life playing, talking, coaching, and essentially living and breathing football, and he now would like to take it to another level by using it as a peace-building tool for his beloved country, Rwanda, and possibly for the entire Great Lakes region. He has personally felt the effects of the ethnic division, before, during and after the genocide. As this hatred was openly accepted, between 1992 and 1994 he was unable to travel with his football club “RAYON SPORTS FC” to matches in certain parts of the country, due to a fear of being singled out or attacked because of his ethnic background or physical appearance. When the genocide began, football played a big role in the events that befell him and his family. The first day of the genocide, a member of former Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) spared his life, and the lives of those that he was with, simply because he recognised him as “TOTO FROM RAYON SPORTS!”
While other players were killed in many football clubs around the country, sometimes by their own teammates, the players of Rayon Sports remained united and supported each other. Eugene has been able to rely on the members of his club, who played different roles in his and his family’s survival.
His teammate Longin Munyurangabo helped him throughout the Genocide period and when the situation degenerated he advised him to seek refuge at the house of one of Rayon Sports’ board member who was also well-known for belonging to the Interahamwe militia group. Thanks to the spirit of the game the Rayon Sports Board member organised Eugene’s escape from his neighbourhood of Nyamirambo to the Croix Rouge International Headquarters and then Mille Collines Hotel. If he hadn’t made it there, it would have been practicaly impossible for him to survive the genocide.
For a number of people, football played an extremely important role both during and after the genocide. People who would have never been able to help each other, as a result of the events that transpired, were able to come together and support one another. It is from this prospective that E. Murangwa Eugene is now embarking on this long journey, introducing the “beautiful game” as a step in his country’s reconciliation and unity process.