Testimonies of change as World Vision celebrates 20 years in Rwanda

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Theogene (10) presents a poem during World Vision Rwanda 20th anniversary event

“World Vision our mother, you have given hope to us who were hopeless. You have brought health services closer to us. Those who thought education was only for the rich now have access to modern classrooms. That I can compose, write and read poems is because of you mother World Vision,” Theogene (10) a World Vision sponsored child from Mubuga recited at a function to mark 20 years of World Vision work in Rwanda.

“The boy is truly incredible. A child of his age to express that level of confidence in front of hundreds of people is astonishing,” said Mr. Vincent Munyeshyaka who represented the Minister of Local Government at a colourful celebration event held in Rusororo, Gasabo district, last Friday. Munyeshyaka said that World Vision’s contribution complements government efforts to achieve development goals under Vision 2020.

In attendance were government officials, beneficiaries, donors, World Vision staff as well as partners who were amazed by what the community members had to show, at the Sano Park exhibition, as fruit and testimonies of partnering with World Vision. World Vision Rwanda 20th anniversary comes at a time when Rwandans are commemorating 20 years after the 1994 genocide that left a million innocent people dead.

World Vision East African Regional Leader, Jean Baptiste Kamate,cautioned that even as key milestones are celebrated there is need to remember the millions of children in Africa who are still suffering. “I envision a region where we experience peace, protection and opportunity for every child. Peace is the flashlight for the future,” Dr. Kamate said.

“Today, we do not celebrate the health centers we have built, the number of famers we have supported, classrooms we have constructed or water sources we connected in various parts of the country; but we celebrate the lives of millions of people which have been saved by the services provided in these health centers and the education that our children have received in improved learning environments,” said the World Vision Rwanda National Director, George Gitau.

 Jean Bosco Muneza, one of the World Vision Rwanda beneficiaries who participated in the expo expressed gratitude to World Vision for reaching out after he dropped out of school, and was also found unable to pay school fees or medical insurance for his children.

 In 2011, World Vision supported Jean Bosco with 11,120 pineapple suckers. A year later, pineapples had multiplied to 63,000. He sold all of them at 6,400,000frw (nearly US$ 9,500). From that income, he bought 3 hectares of land at 3,000,000 frw (US$ 4,412) on which he planted ordinary bananas, and later expanded his plantation to 6 hectares of improved breeds of bananas.

“Through the income from bananas, I bought a truck that transports bananas to the capital Kigali for better prices, bought 2 Friesian cows, which have given birth to 5 more and two of them are currently producing 18 litres of milk per day. On average I earn 600,000 frw per month from bananas. My family has totally been transformed and my children are healthy and in good schools,” he proudly said. Jean Bosco currently employs 14 permanent staff.

Communities that World Vision has helped organize into cooperatives told stories of how their lives and those of their children have improved to levels of ensuring children enjoy good health; are educated for life; are protected cared for and participating in addition to experiencing the love of God and neighbour!

World Vision began humanitarian work in Rwanda in 1994 after the genocide that left a million people dead and millions displaced.

World Vision has a strong and well-established countrywide presence with operations in 15 out of 30 Rwandan districts, impacting more than 4,000,000 people through integrated programmes in Education, Health and Nutrition, Peace-building, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Livelihoods and Food Security, Disaster Response, Child Protection and others.

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