Latest update

Rwanda has seen increasing recoveries from COVID-19 and decreasing numbers of new cases. The government is using widespread testing and contact tracers to identify people exposed to active cases. Most businesses, including restaurants, hotels, shops and tourism operations, have reopened. International air travel has resumed, but land borders remain closed. Schools remain closed until further notice. A curfew is in place from 9pm to 5am, and large gatherings are banned.

READ MOREkeyboard_arrow_down READ LESSkeyboard_arrow_up

COVID-19 in Rwanda

How is Compassion currently operating in Rwanda?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Compassion child development centres are closed.

    Compassion centre staff members are communicating with children and caregivers by phone where possible and conducting home visits where it is safe to do so. Small groups have been able to gather to tend to gardens and care for their livestock.

    Staff members are working within local guidelines to distribute supplies and have been able to deliver 74,964 food packs and 255,953 hygiene kits. Additionally, they have helped 12,547 individuals access medical support.

    The Compassion Rwanda office is working with local staff to offer counselling support during this difficult season.

  • 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:

  • For the safety and protection of the caregivers in RW0741 as they continue to work to provide for their families.
  • For God’s comfort and peace to be with eight-year-old Christian as grieves the unexpected passing of his father.
  • For four-year-old Claude’s family as they grieve his passing. Pray that God would comfort them and remind them of His love during this difficult time.
  • For God to provide good health, protection, love and joy for the children, staff and local church partners.
  • Thank God for the many who have recovered from COVID-19. Please continue to pray for God’s protection.
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

info

Please note: Due to the current pandemic, most child development centres in Rwanda are temporarily closed. Our local church partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care.

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.
icon

Compassion Program Activities in Rwanda

arrow down

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.

READ MOREkeyboard_arrow_down READ LESSkeyboard_arrow_up
Map

Stories from Compassion around the world

12 Mar, 2020

Meet the Children Who Proved Their Circumstances Wrong

Life can be challenging for children living in poverty, especially when difficulties get in the way of daily life. Learn how these inspiring children showed their circumstances who’s boss!.. Read more

02 Jun, 2020

Will COVID-19 Lead to Increased Poverty?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has left millions struggling with unemployment and uncertainty. But what will it mean for our world's most vulnerable citizens—children living in poverty?.. Read more

09 Oct, 2018

6 Amazing Girls Who Will Inspire You

We’d like to introduce you to six inspiring girls (some now grown into amazing women) who have endured adversity and whose stories will challenge you to live your best life. .. Read more