PORTLAND, Maine — A Portland man who has overcome the tragedies of genocide in his home country of Rwanda was honored recently for his work managing housing for the elderly in southern Maine.
Georges Bugadu Makoko, a property manager for the Portland-based nonprofit Avesta Housing, was named the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s 2012 Site Manager of the Year for Housing for the Elderly in Maine on Friday.
The honor represents the culmination of a long, difficult path to success for Makoko, according to a USDA announcement Wednesday. Makoko experienced personal tragedies stemming from the 1994 mass murder of more than 500,000 Tutsis and their supporters by members of the Hutu-led Rwandan government and military.
“Georges was raised in Rwanda and has lost many members of his family during the Rwandan genocide,” the agency announcement reads, in part. “Georges pursued his education as a means to improve his life. He graduated from the National University of Rwanda with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economic Sciences, Social Science and Management. After coming to the United States, he committed himself to helping others, and achieves this daily in his role as property manager.”
Makoko oversees Avesta’s Village Square assisted living apartments in Gorham.
“The work that we do is inspiring,” Makoko said in a statement. “I am glad to be part of such a noble mission, helping thousands of people find a home that they can afford.”
In order to be considered for the award, candidates must meet at least four major criteria: Tenant satisfaction with the property manager must be high; the property must maintain “good curb appeal”; the manager must have no incidents of noncompliance with USDA standards; and he or she must “consistently [do] more than what is expected.”
“I am very pleased that USDA Rural Development has recognized such a hard-working, caring and capable individual as Georges Budagu Makoko for his continued commitment to ensuring his tenants have quality housing,” Virginia Manuel, USDA Rural Development director for Maine, said in a statement. “Georges has constantly gone above and beyond what is expected, and he is very deserving of this important recognition.”