Latest update

Rwanda's COVID-19 case numbers have kept relatively low overall. The nation's COVID-19 vaccination program began in March 2021 and the government has worked hard to provide easy access to testing and thorough contact tracing. However, lockdown restrictions have adversely affected many vulnerable children and families, due to loss of caregiver income and school closures.

Our local church partners in Rwanda have closely followed local guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their communities. Due to continued low case numbers, most Rwandan child development centres have now resumed their normal program activities. Since the beginning of the pandemic, local workers delivered over 127,000 food kits and 1,018,000 hygiene kits to vulnerable families.

Check out the recent 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 and are complying with local guidelines and appropriate COVID-19 prevention measures.

  • 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 continue to be distributed in Rwanda. Sponsor gifts to children and families are being delivered as electronic cash transfers, where appropriate. Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Rwanda who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray that God would comfort Sylvie and her family as they grieve her father’s passing.
  • Pray for healing and a quick recovery for Patrick, who has a broken clavicle.
  • Pray that Bienvenue would know how much God loves him and the purpose He has for his life.
  • Pray for wisdom for the doctors as they continue to care for Pascaline as she waits to travel to India for her heart operation.
  • Pray that God would allow Siphora’s parents and the project staff to find the right doctors and medical staff to correct her clubfoot.
  • Pray that God would bring peace and clarity to the children awaiting their yearly exams.
  • Pray for wisdom and strength for National Office Leadership Team as they pray and make decisions for the upcoming financial year.
  • Pray for healing and a quick recovery for Patrick’s brother, Olivier, who has been unwell.
  • Pray for the continued health and safety of the Rwandan people.
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 current pandemic, most centres in Rwanda have reopened and are complying with local guidelines and appropriate COVID-19 prevention measures.

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

39%

of people live below the poverty line

248

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

33%

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. 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, 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.

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