Fidele has been supported by Rwanda Action since he was a young boy. He relies on a wheelchair due to the effects of polio on his legs. Since 2018, he has been interested in learning to make shoes and after some initial experience in a shoemaking enterprise, we found him a one-year residential course. He began in September 2019 and returned to the Alivera Centre in November 2020 when the easing of lockdown restrictions allowed him to travel.
The construction of the Alivera Village will offer a workshop for him to establish a co-operative where he can teach others skills through work experience, but this will not be ready until the end of 2021. Fidele was really keen to get started so he compiled a list of the basic equipment and materials he needed and we created a temporary space at the Alivera Centre.
As soon as the equipment arrived, Fidele wasted no time in getting set up and finding two eager assistants. Aline and Obed live locally and are both deaf. Like Fidele, they use sign language but at 19 years old, having been supported through primary school by Rwanda Action, they have had no opportunities for further education or employment. With the enthusiasm and dedication they have demonstrated so far, we are sure that by the time the workshop is ready to move into, they will be producing beautiful handmade shoes.
Felix, who manages the Alivera Centre, describes the three of them as very keen and courageous!