Subsistence Farming

Subsistence Farming

Subsistence farming is a type of farming that provides for the family's needs, and there is little to nothing left to be sold at market. Subsistence farming is the primary income for more than 11 million Rwandans that live in the rural regions of the country. Laborers that work in subsistence farming earn roughly the equivalent of eighty-two cents (US) per day. 

Rwanda

Rural Region

  • Family farms are extremely small in rural Rwanda, and traditional farming tools and methods are used. Family farms are extremely small in rural Rwanda, and traditional farming tools and methods are used.
  • Recreation and fun are important components of each Compassion center's holistic child development program. Recreation and fun are important components of each Compassion center's holistic child development program.
  • Education is vital for a child to escape poverty. Sponsored children receive educational support and hope for a better future. Education is vital for a child to escape poverty. Sponsored children receive educational support and hope for a better future.
  • Children in the Compassion program have the opportunity to grow in every way: mind, body, heart and spirit. Children in the Compassion program have the opportunity to grow in every way: mind, body, heart and spirit.
  • These children are eagerly waiting to be served cups of nourishing porridge at their Compassion center. These children are eagerly waiting to be served cups of nourishing porridge at their Compassion center.
  • Children whose families cannot afford to pay school fees spend their days doing odd chores, like fetching water or working with their parents on their small plots of land. Children whose families cannot afford to pay school fees spend their days doing odd chores, like fetching water or working with their parents on their small plots of land.
  • Homes in rural Rwanda typically have mud walls, corrugated iron or thatched roofs and dirt floors. Homes in rural Rwanda typically have mud walls, corrugated iron or thatched roofs and dirt floors.
 
RWANDA OVERVIEW

Population

12,337,138

Religion

Roman Catholic

Weather

 
A Glimpse of Poverty in Rural Rwanda Rwanda Overview
  • More than 90 percent of rural families depend on subsistence farming.
  • Land is traditionally passed down from fathers to children and split up among them. After generations of large families splitting up Rwanda’s cultivatable land, there is now a serious shortage.
  • The small plots farmed by each family are not nearly big enough to cover their food needs.
  • The lack of knowledge of modern farming techniques and access to irrigation or fertilizers often means crop failure.
  • Another challenge poor rural families face is lack of access to clean water.
  • In addition to chronic malnutrition, children also suffer from such waterborne illnesses as intestinal parasites and skin diseases.
  • Many children, living in deep poverty, are unable to attend school because they cannot afford the fees.
  • Today the effects of the 1994 genocide are still felt by the rural population. Yet despite the pain of the past, many families embrace hope and the power of forgiveness.
COMMUNITY
Rwanda Community
Issues and Concerns
  • The northern and western areas of Rwanda typically receive heavy amounts of rainfall during the rainy seasons — February to May and October to December. Often flooding and landslides result, taking lives and destroying homes and farms.
  • By contrast, in the plains areas of the south and east, families suffer from frequent, prolonged drought, which often causes critical food shortages.
  • In addition to climate issues, food supplies in Rwanda’s rural areas are affected by a decline in soil fertility, poor crop management, pests, poor storage, and the unavailability and expense of fertilizers to maintain crop yield.
  • Because Rwanda is one of Africa’s most densely populated countries, family farms are extremely small, barely able to provide adequate food for large rural families even in the best of circumstances.
  • Chronic malnutrition in Rwanda has grown dramatically among children age 5 and under in recent years.
  • Other issues in the country’s rural areas are lack of health centers and sanitation.
  • Just over half of rural families have access to adequate sanitation facilities. Only 62 percent have access to sources of clean water.
Local Needs and Challenges

Lack of clean water

Access to potable water is a serious need in rural areas. Children must travel one or two miles to get water from sources such as swamps or public wells.

Inadequate housing

Poorly built housing is another problem, and homes are often destroyed in landslides or floods during rainy season.

Instability

High rent forces families to move frequently, which affects children’s school and Compassion center performance.

HIV/AIDS

This disease is an increasing problem among border communities.

EDUCATION
Rwanda education
Schools and Education
  • The government’s provision of primary education means that most children are able to attend some school. Few, however, progress beyond the primary years.
  • The school year starts in January and comprises three terms, ending in October.
  • Despite the government’s commitment to provide education to all children, classrooms in rural areas are typically poorly equipped and overcrowded, with one teacher to every 50 students.
  • Among Rwandans, only 70 percent of those over age 15 can read or write. And fewer women than men are literate.

Compassion Rwanda works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school, and we provide additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

At Compassion-assisted child development centers in Rwanda’s rural region, children are receiving the help and learning opportunities they need to reach their potential in Christ.

Along with nutritious meals for proper physical development, they also receive medical assistance and hygiene training to stay healthy.

Tutoring helps to make up for any school deficiencies, and most important, they learn about the love of their heavenly Father.

What Compassion Sponsorship Provides

In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing help and hope to rural Rwanda’s children in need, providing:  

  • regular nutritious meals and snacks
  • health checkups and medical care as needed
  • the support needed to attend school
  • training in good hygiene and medical assistance whenever they fall sick
  • such basic necessities as soap, lotion, clothes and wash basins
  • the fees, uniforms and supplies they need to attend school
  • the love of God and hope of Christ’s salvation. Many have received Christ as their Savior and are growing in their faith.