COVID-19 and Compassion’s Work in Rwanda

An in-depth look at the coronavirus pandemic in Rwanda

Last Updated: 04/12/2021

On April 6, Rwanda recorded an average of 170 new infections per day for the previous week and a total of 311 related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Up to that date, Rwanda had administered enough doses to fully vaccinate about 1.4% of its population of 12.7 million people. The government continues to mandate precautionary health measures, including frequent hand-washing and social distancing. Face masks must be worn not only in public but also in multifamily compounds. Schools and universities have reopened. The government announced a plan to more than triple its Economic Recovery Fund to support businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic.

Child development centers in Rwanda are open only for small group meetings of children and youths. Staff are careful to take COVID-19 prevention measures and follow local guidelines. They have been able to deliver nearly 83,000 food packs and almost 534,000 hygiene kits to children and families. Additionally, they have helped over 55,000 individuals obtain medical support.

COVID response in Rwanda

A Message From National Staff

How Is Compassion Currently Operating in Rwanda?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Rwanda, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

Centers in Rwanda have reopened for limited numbers of children and youths at a time and are complying with local guidelines and appropriate COVID-19 prevention measures. Staff members continue to make home visits and phone calls to children and caregivers. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute nearly 83,000 food packs and almost 534,000 hygiene kits to children and their families!

COVID response in Rwanda

child reading IconStory From the Field

After a year when many families were decimated financially, one of the priorities for Compassion Rwanda in 2021 is empowering caregivers to start income-generating activities and form savings groups.

“We had put a lot of emphasis on COVID-19 interventions, especially during the lockdown. We offered food baskets, health and child protection interventions,” says John Nkubana, national director of Compassion Rwanda. “But in 2021, the area to put a lot of emphasis on is empowering caregiver income-generating activities to improve the livelihood of families.”

Alice is a mother of 3-year-old twin girls whose life today is a testament to how income-generating activities and savings groups can transform lives. Her family was able to survive the pandemic due to the small business skills she learned as part of the Compassion Survival Program, which ministers to mothers and their infant children.

When Alice was registered into the Survival Program, her family not only received medical care and nutrition support, but Alice was trained in an income-generating activity — tailoring — and joined a savings group where she could access small loans. Today, Alice owns a sewing machine and is making a living from sewing dresses, shirts and trousers. She also has a small shop that sells vegetables.

“I’m grateful to the center staff and caregivers. I was always a stay-home mother who was sad and lonely,” she says. “But today I have people to share business ideas with, people to laugh and cry with. I felt the support of the fellow caregivers and center staff the most during the COVID-19 restrictions. They gave me clothes to make for them so that I could earn and take care of my family. I’m thankful to God.”

National director Nkubana says a family's livelihood is important in determining whether or not a child is known, loved and protected, which is why that is Compassion Rwanda's focus for 2021. “We can’t ignore empowering caregivers,” he explains, “if we want to achieve the outcome of children becoming fulfilled Christian adults.”

How can I pray for Rwanda?

Please pray for economic recovery in Rwanda; ask God to revive businesses and help families to thrive. For more prayer resources, visit Compassion’s COVID-19 prayer page for prayer guides and a virtual prayer wall.

How Can I Help?

Sponsor a Child in Rwanda
Give to Compassion’s COVID-19 Relief Fund
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