Vulnerable widows now self-sustaining in Rwanda
Global Development Group project J793 ‘Village of Hope’ (Stage two), has recently reached the milestone of becoming self-sustainable. The project has seen some significant outcomes realised, such as improved health, safety, security and income generation for 130 vulnerable beneficiaries, mainly widows and children. This project has quite a history…
Australians Mark and Darlene Zschech, after being impacted by what they saw in 2004 as they visited what seemed to them a “forgotten nation” since the horrific genocide of 1994, were inspired to do something. They launched ‘Hope Rwanda: 100 Days of Hope’, a concentrated, global effort to bring relief and assistance to Rwanda. After the success of this event, and wanting to make a lasting difference, in 2007 they partnered with in-country partner Link Ministries and Global Development Group in project J793.
In 2009 Parramatta Eels players Tim Mannah, Justin Poore, Joel Reddy, Joe Galuvao, Matt Keating and Paul Osborne volunteered to help build some of the Village’s thirty houses.
Concerning his visit Mannah commented, “… It’s only then that you realise how much in life we take for granted and how rewarding it can be to get involved with something like this…I mean, you don’t go over there thinking you’re going to change the whole country. But if you can make a difference with one life, a couple of lives, well, that makes everything worth it,” Mannah said at the time.
After visiting the Rwandan President in 2012, the then Special Envoy to the Australian Prime Minister Mr Bob McMullen, accompanied by the Australian East Africa High Commissioner Geoff Tooth, stopped in at the Village of Hope to see a local working example of an Australian-Rwandan partnership.
The Australian delegation visited houses in the village and viewed activities such as brick-making, dairy farming and vegetable gardening, providing a way for the widows to earn their own income and for the village to become self-sustainable. Members of the delegation commented on the high building standard and good maintenance of the houses and decided to contribute to the local economy by purchasing baskets, hand made by the Village of Hope widows.
Today, the widows have gained their independence. The houses are complete, fully-equipped and the success of the various income-generating activities will help these families with the resources to maintain their homes and enjoy long-term self-sustainability.