Compassion started working in Rwanda in 1980. Today, there are over 99,000 children registered at 399 local church partners' child development centres.
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of people live below the poverty line
years is the average life expectancy
lack access to improved sanitation
More than two decades after a devastating genocide, Rwanda is making progress in the fight against poverty. But millions still struggle to meet their daily needs—and the COVID-19 pandemic threatens many more.
A history of ethnic tension culminated in the devastating genocide of 1994, in which more than 800,000 people were killed. In the aftermath, many millions more found themselves pushed into poverty and struggling to meet their basic needs. In the decades since, Rwanda has instituted reconciliation measures to help bring healing and forgiveness between different ethnic groups in communities across the country. In many places, these measures have been successful and progress steady.
Agriculture counts for much of Rwanda’s economy. A recent focus on information and communications technology and a strong tourism sector have helped the economy to grow. From 2001 to 2014, these strong economic gains meant that the poverty rate dropped from 59 to 39 per cent (measured by the national poverty line). But that momentum plateaued between 2014 and 2017 and poverty has risen in the past few years.
President Paul Kagame was re-elected in August 2018, following an amendment to the constitution in December 2015 that allowed him to run for an unprecedented third seven-year term. While his admirer say he has done more than anyone to lift millions of Rwandans out of poverty, critics point to the suppression of criticism and the free press, violence against political opposition and a resurgent poverty rate.
As with so many developing nations, the battle against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is only just beginning for Rwanda and the virus’s full effect remains to be seen. But distancing and isolation measures have hit the poorest people hardest and, in many cases, they can’t work at all. Thousands of families face a renewed threat of hunger and the choice between risking disease and trying to survive without a sustainable income.
For children in need, access to the basics of life—education, shelter, medical assistance, good nutrition and safe water—is difficult. It is these children that local churches are focused on, as they live out the love of Jesus and share a hope more powerful than poverty.
Dear Sponsor, My name is John Nkubana. I am the Country Director of Compassion Rwanda. I joined Compassion Rwanda on 20 August, 2012. I’m married to my beautiful wife and we are blessed with three children: two boys and one girl. Compassion started work in Rwanda in 1980. From 1980 to 1983, we didn’t have an office in Rwanda. The office was opened in 1984. Today, we support 86,000 children from 342 local churches and 22 denominations.open_in_new Read full letter
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