Dear Friends and Supporters
What troublesome times these are! We do hope that the anxieties and uncertainties that beset the world are not weighing too heavily on you and your family and friends.
Although the recent lockdown has caused all of us at Rwanda Aid our fair share of frustration, it has also provided us with the opportunity to think very carefully about what we are doing, and we have valued this.
One decision we have reached is to change the name of the charity from Rwanda Aid to Rwanda Action. We feel this new name better reflects the way in which we work, that is in partnership with the community and the government, and delegating much of the day-to-day work to our excellent team of Rwandan managers.
Our mission to empower communities to reduce poverty is even more critical in the wake of this pandemic and we remain wholly committed to that task.
However, we have had to take one difficult and painful decision as a result of a change in Rwandan Government policy.
The authorities have decided that all street children should be returned directly to their homes (or to foster homes) and that there should be no residential care in institutions. Already all the orphanages in Rwanda have been closed.
We have pleaded our case as persuasively as we can, pointing out that our ultimate objective is the rehabilitation of the children in their familial homes. Furthermore, in this respect we have been remarkably successful over the past eight years, with well over 200 children back home and very few returning to the street. The Government recognises this achievement and is grateful for it, but insists that its new regulations require that all street children must now be cared for in their homes and in the community. This is a fine ideal, but possibly not very practical or realistic, especially when initiated at a stroke.
We intend to make the best we can of the situation. We will continue to support the children who have been with us and as far as possible we will try to support those street children who are now going to be returned immediately to their homes. We also believe that our new Building Communities project will offer exactly the social support that the Government is wanting to develop
We have plans to use the Baho Neza Mwana site as a centre for our outreach work and to provide training in support of that outreach work. We would like to invite former and current vulnerable children to Saturday recreational days, when we will be able to give the children a good meal and the opportunity to benefit from counselling and recreational activity. This will help us to monitor the children’s progress and well-being and to focus additional support in the homes where it is needed.
We hope that our sponsors will understand this change of emphasis and want to continue to support the existing children and new children in their schools and in their homes.
This development does not affect our Alivera project and now that the lockdown has been lifted, we will make a start on the construction of the village in the New Year. Fidele, one of the very first disabled children we helped, has been trained in shoe-making and he is very excited at the prospect of setting up his own workshop in the new village.
As was the case last year, a generous donor has offered to match any donations made to Rwanda Action between now and Christmas up to a total of £12 500. We appreciate that with so many problems and anxieties besieging us at home, it is harder to reach out to those struggling on the other side of the world, but if you are able to help us it would be hugely appreciated (and your gift will be doubled!)
With our warmest good wishes
David and the Rwanda Action team
Please note that all existing standing orders will continue to reach our bank account, but from now all electronic payments and cheques should use the new account name Rwanda Action. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
The calming waters of Lake Kivu