Latest update

Overall, poverty in Rwanda is declining since the devastating genocide in 1994. But millions still struggle to meet their daily needs and close to a third of the population don’t have access to basic sanitation services. Around 45 per cent of the population are under 18-years-old, making it even more critical to help Rwandan children break the cycle of poverty.

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.

Watch the video update below to learn more about our church partners 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 COVID-19 guidelines.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    Letters are currently being delivered normally in Rwanda. We encourage you to send a letter to your sponsored child today because your words of care and hope have a big impact in the life of a child in poverty.

  • 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 healing for children currently receiving treatment, including Aime, Fabrice and Ruth.
  • 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.
  • Pray for God's presence and provision to be felt by those displaced by floods in northern Rwanda in May.
  • Pray for wisdom for local and national Rwandan leaders as they make decisions and care for the vulnerable.
  • Pray for stability for Rwanda's economy.
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


Please note: Due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, some child development centres in Rwanda may be temporarily unable to host large group activities. Our local church partners continue to meet the holistic needs of registered children through smaller group activities or 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.

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


of people are experiencing multidimensional poverty


mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births


lack access to basic sanitation services

Despite its small size, Rwanda is one of the most densely populated African nations. Known as the ‘land of a thousand hills’, the country’s breathtaking mountainous terrain is also home to the endangered mountain gorilla. Rwanda’s environmental conservation efforts are robust and include a plastic-bag ban in place since 2008.

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 coupled with the global food crisis 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.

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 serve their communities and live out the love of Jesus.

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30 Nov, 2016

What do Pregnant Women Pack in their Hospital Bag?

Preparing for a new baby should be exciting. But mums living in poverty often have a different experience to our own. Take a peek into the hospital bags of three Australian mums-to-be and one expectant mum from Rwanda... Read more

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Why Do My Sponsored Child's Letters Sound the Same?

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Most classroom in Australia look fairly similar. Although they might be decorated differently, you can pretty much expect to see the same things—some desks, a board, and maybe some computers. But what about the classrooms of children in Compassion’s programs? We all know education varies across the world, but so do the classrooms! .. Read more