Even today the people of Rwanda are haunted by the aftermath of the genocide in 1994. The civil war, caused by tension between two ethnic groups, which led to the assassination of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents, was the ultimate catalyst of the genocide. An estimated 800,000 people were killed, but that is only half the story. Today, people must go on with their lives, with no homes and many family and friends no longer with them.
As a SIFE team we aim to help people to help themselves through the transfer of business and economic concepts. What this really means is that we help people by teaching skills and making business concepts accessible to try and improve their lives.
Our international project, works closely with the children’s charity Coco to improve the lives of those affected by the awful event. The project focuses on the Dufatanye Co-operative, located in Nyanza, Rwanda, which is a farming community of 362 people, and 23% of these suffer from HIV/AIDS.
Recently one of the Coco team was able to get out to Rwanda and assess the co-operative to find how best we can help. Lucy told us that ‘the housing was the worst I’ve ever seen’ and explained that she had visited a lot of deprived areas. She was concerned about the security, particularly for the women and children.
We were pleased to hear that she could see no obvious signs of malnutrition. The people of the co-operative told Lucy that it gave them hope and a sense of community. Many people with HIV/AIDS are isolated and the genocide is never spoken about.
The teams’ are aiming to improve the farming techniques and knowledge in order to get the best out of the land, and help with their accounting. In the future we are also hoping to improve the irrigation systems as the land is extremely wet and to help the co-operative save funds and build an ecological composting toilet.
The Dufatanye project is just one of the projects SIFE is running and if you’d like to get involved don’t hesitate to contact the new president Tom: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find out more by searching for SIFE Newcastle on facebook or twitter (@SIFE_Newcastle).