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Homelessness. Medical emergencies. Natural disaster. Your donation helps children when they need it most..
Rwanda, “land of a thousand hills,” draws tourists with its sweeping savanna and expansive lakes. Many who call Rwanda home struggle to find clean water and attend school. Compassion-assisted children experience these realities daily. But at the Compassion center, there is hope.
A group of children stretch out on the grass and read.
A young girl smiles joyfully as she shows off her goat.
Children and their mothers attend class.
A young girl bounces a ball in front of her house.
A girl looks in the window of her child development center.
A group of children eat a delicious meal they received at their child development center.
A child smiles while carrying a bundle of sticks and plants on her head.
A mother and father hold their newborn baby outside their home.
A group of smiling children play with colorful balloons.
A girl walks outside her home in Rwanda.
Issue: Only half of Rwandans have access to adequate sanitation facilities, and just 76% have access to clean water. Children spend hours collecting unsafe water from rivers and swamps — water that leaves them suffering from diarrhea and intestinal parasites.
Response: At the Compassion center, children are provided with hygiene training, clean drinking water and health checkups. Compassion Rwanda is working to get clean, potable water in every registered child’s home by distributing water filters.
Prayer Point: Pray with Compassion Rwanda Director John Nkubana, a former refugee, that the children of Rwanda will receive joy and hope as their tangible needs are met.
Compassion centers in Rwanda provide hygiene training and clean water to bring about a healthier lifestyle for beneficiaries.
Visit the Compassion blog to learn more about our work in Rwanda.
On the last Saturday of the month, the entire population of Rwanda participates in three hours of community improvement projects. The practice is called Umuganda.
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Official Name: Republic of Rwanda
Form of Government: Presidential republic
Official Language: Kinyarwanda
Currency: Rwandan franc
Area: 10,169 square miles (26,338 square kilometers)
A restive Hutu population, encouraged by the Belgian military, sparked a revolt in November 1959, resulting in the overthrow of the Tutsi monarchy. Two years later, the Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (PARMEHUTU) won an overwhelming victory in a United Nations-supervised referendum.
During the 1959 revolt and its aftermath, more than 160,000 Tutsis fled to neighboring countries. The PARMEHUTU government, formed as a result of the September 1961 election, was granted internal autonomy by Belgium on Jan. 1, 1962. A June 1962 United Nations General Assembly resolution terminated the Belgian trusteeship and granted full independence to Rwanda (and Burundi) effective July 1, 1962.
Gregoire Kayibanda, leader of the PARMEHUTU Party, became Rwanda's first elected president, leading a government chosen from the membership of the directly elected unicameral National Assembly. Peaceful negotiation of international problems, social and economic elevation of the masses, and integrated development of Rwanda were the ideals of the Kayibanda regime. Relations with 43 countries, including the United States, were established in the first 10 years. Despite the progress made, inefficiency and corruption began festering in government ministries in the mid-1960s.
Ethnic-based strife has been a common theme throughout Rwanda's history. A civil war begun in 1990 experienced a temporary cessation of fighting with the signing of a peace accord in 1993. However, fighting resumed in April 1994 with the initiation of state-orchestrated genocide. During the three-month long attempted genocide Rwandans killed up to 1 million of their fellow citizens.
In April 2000, Rwanda's Vice President (and former Commander of the Rwandan Patriotic Front), Paul Kagame became the nation's first Tutsi President. The next year, the government began implementation of a grass-roots, village-level justice system, known as gacaca, to address the enormous backlog of genocide cases.
Rwanda in 2009 staged a joint military operation with the Congolese Army in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to rout out an extremist insurgency, and the governments restored diplomatic relations. Rwanda also joined the Commonwealth in late 2009.
Source: The World Factbook, 2014.
Rwandans enjoy storytelling, weaving and basketry. Skill and expressiveness displayed in basket weaving indicate a family's social status. The pygmy Twa are traditional potters.
Rwandan musical instruments include homemade xylophones, stringed instruments and drums; singing and dancing accompany ceremonies associated with birth, marriage, death, harvest and hunting.
Here are some words in Rwanda’s official language, Kinyarwanda. Some Compassion children in Rwanda also speak French or English.
Kinyarwanda: Mwaramutse. (Good morning.), Bite? (How are you?), Muraho (Hello), Witwande? (What's your name?), Nitwa ... (My name is ...), Murakoze. (Thank you.)
Sports & Games
Soccer (called football) is Rwanda’s most popular sport. Basketball and volleyball are also becoming increasingly popular.
Rwandans eat bananas, legumes, sweet potatoes, maize, cassava and potatoes.
The typical school year runs from January to October. Education is free at the primary level for all children.
Rwandans view education as the only way for a hopeful future for their children, and parents are concerned about their children's education. Rwanda's educated live in towns, while the non-educated live in remote areas, often in situations of extreme poverty.
While the government has introduced free education at the primary level, most parents cannot provide the materials for children to go to school, including writing paper and school uniforms.
Disputes between religious groups are rare. The Rwandan Constitution provides for freedom of religion; however, while the government generally respects this right in practice, it fails to prevent local authorities from abusing or restricting religious freedoms. There is no state religion.
The law provides for small fines and imprisonment of up to six months for anyone who interferes with a religious ceremony or with a minister in the exercise of his or her professional duties. The law regulates public meetings and calls for fines or imprisonment for those who violate these regulations.
The government permits religious instruction in public schools. In some cases, students are given a choice between instruction in “religion” or “morals.” In the past, missionaries established schools that were operated by the government. In those schools, religious instruction tends to reflect the denomination of the founders, either Catholic or Protestant. Muslim private schools operate as well.
Source: International Religious Freedom Report, released in 2012 by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
New Year’s Day: Jan. 1
Heroes Day: Feb. 1
Women’s Day: March 8
Easter Week: March or April
Genocide Memorial Day: April 7
Labor Day: May 1
Independence Day: July 1
Assumption Day: Aug. 15 — Celebrates the belief that Mary ascended into heaven after Jesus’ death.
All Saints Day: Nov. 1 — Catholics celebrate those who have achieved sainthood.
Christmas: Dec. 25 — Christians usually attend church and enjoy a special family meal.
Compassion has been working in Rwanda since 1980. These Rwanda facts and statistics provide a good picture of the reality of poverty and how child sponsorship through Compassion is making a difference.
Poverty is a problem in the country of Rwanda but with your support, Compassion is working to change this. The Rwanda facts tell a difficult story, but Compassion is bringing hope in the midst of the difficulties. Our programs are changing the statistics one child at a time.
Don't let the hopelessness of poverty overwhelm you. Donate to children in Rwanda!