Latest update

Compassion has worked with local church partners in Rwanda to serve children in poverty for more than four decades. Our holistic child development program works to address the unique needs of registered children through individual care and attention, spiritual guidance, nutrition, healthcare, education and social support.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, local workers in Rwanda have continued to support their communities. They have delivered over 1,224,000 hygiene kits and more than 134,000 food packs to Compassion assisted children and their families. Most child development centres in Rwanda have now resumed their usual program activities.

Watch the video update below to find out more about Compassion's work in Rwanda.

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Country update

How is Compassion currently operating in Rwanda?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Most child development centres in Rwanda have now resumed their usual program activities in line with local guidelines.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    Letters are currently being delivered in Rwanda, although delivery to and from your sponsored child may take a bit longer than normal. We encourage you to continue writing, as the children need words of hope and encouragement now more than ever before. Thank you for writing!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts are currently being distributed normally in Rwanda. Local workers will meet with the child and family to determine the best use of the gift and ensure it meets their greatest need.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for the children, families and local churches in Rwanda we serve.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray for wisdom for Placidia’s doctors as they work to manage her epilepsy.
  • Pray for comfort and peace for Leonard as he prepares for a knee operation.
  • Pray that God would heal Betty from an infection.
  • Pray for the healing for El Shadai, Emerence, Réponse and Martin.
  • Praise God for the safe delivery of Richard and his wife’s twins.
  • Pray for healing Jennifer’s father, who is recovering from a car accident.
  • Pray for Mike's caregiver who is undergoing chemotherapy.
  • Pray for Godly wisdom for local and national Rwandan leaders as they make decisions and care for the vulnerable.
  • Pray for protection over the health and safety of the Rwandan children and families we serve.
  • Pray that God would continue to strengthen the local church as they serve their communities in Rwanda.
Providing food relief in Rwanda

Providing food relief in Rwanda

What happens when the only source of food is snatched away by unforeseen circumstances? In the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, Rachel lost her income, unable to sell pots and charcoal stoves in the market.   Read more open_in_new

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Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some child development centres in Rwanda continue to meet with children in smaller group settings or through home visits.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Rwanda

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 5 visit the Compassion centre for eight hours on Saturdays.
  • Children aged 6 to 11 attend for four to six hours a week.
  • Students aged 12 and older attend for four hours a week. Centres are open for extended weekend hours during school holidays.
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Compassion Program Activities in Rwanda

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Compassion assisted children in Rwanda typically attend program activities at their local child development centre on Saturdays. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Rwanda.

9:00am - A time of prayer and devotion. Children are given porridge in the morning for breakfast before starting the first lesson.

10:30am - Break time when children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships.

11:00am - Social-emotional lessons ranging from conflict resolution to developing healthy self-esteem and a godly character. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

12:00pm - Lunch and social time. The children receive a full meal for lunch which usually consists of rice, posho (a common East African dish made with cornmeal) or Irish potatoes with beans and green vegetables.

1:00pm - Health lessons, in which children learn practical health and hygiene tips. Example topics include how to prevent malaria and HIV transmission.

2:00pm - Letter writing and career planning. Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

In addition to Compassion’s curriculum, children in Rwanda are also introduced to Rwandan national values such as self-identity, loving their country, unity, reconciliation and striving toward self-reliance. Many centres teach Rwandan cultural dance as a way of maintaining and owning Rwandan culture.

Older students receive vocational skills training in areas like computer training, carpentry, motor vehicle repair, dressmaking, cooking and hairdressing.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Rwanda

38.2%

of people live below the poverty line

248

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

31%

lack access to basic sanitation services

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. For 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 admirers 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, distancing and isolation measures during COVID-19 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.

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