Since 2008 Embrace Rwanda International Society a Vancouver-based Christian charity has helped to bring powerful, meaningful and sustainable change to Rwanda’s Southern Province. For a region hit hard by poverty, genocide and disease, the transformation is remarkable. Of the 75,000 people in this area of Rwanda, it is estimated that at least 24,000 have now benefited from the work of Embrace Rwanda.
In support of the work of Embrace Rwanda we welcome our new Patron The Most Rev. Dr. Onesphore Rwaje, Archbishop of the Province of Anglican Church of Rwanda.
About Embrace Rwanda
Embrace Rwanda is a grassroots community development partnership between Canada and Rwanda. Under the leadership of North Vancouver’s Hilary King, the initial focus was to provide continuing support for poverty-stricken rural families through an initiative called the “Healthy Mums Project”. Five years later, the initiative stands on four pillars of community development and support: maternal/child health, early childhood education, building capacity through a Vocational Training Centre and a community economic development/ savings and credit program to support the development of small business. In Canada, the charity is run entirely by volunteers, many of whom visit Rwanda annually to offer skills and support. This volunteer component enables 100% of all funds raised here to go directly to Rwanda.
Partnerships the Key to Success
Embrace Rwanda provides a remarkable example of how developing relationships, establishing partnerships and building on the strengths and resilience of a very vulnerable population has created an environment for healing and growth. A five year evaluation of the Healthy Mums Project was completed in 2013, showing a significant difference in health outcomes. With this proven success, other regions and countries in Africa are interested in adopting the Embrace Rwanda model.
Foundational to the success and sustainability of these initiatives is the collaboration between and among many sectors of government and non-governmental agencies in Rwanda, Canada, the United Kingdom and the USA to provide education, support and funding.
Embrace Rwanda embodies mutual respect and understanding. The Rwandan journey out of the darkness of genocide cannot be ignored. As one Embrace Rwanda participant noted, “You have brought out our sorrows. It is very important.” The project’s Rwandan partners and participants are determined to move forward with hope, in the spirit of reconciliation. This creates sustainability and self-sufficiency, the two primary goals of local Rwandans.
Through the power of many partnerships, Embrace Rwanda is working and growing, creating a bridge between poverty and hope for a healthy future.
The day-to-day running of the programs is managed by the local Bishop and the local Embrace Rwanda staff. Members of the Mothers Union provide the volunteer support to the programs. Teams from North America visit the projects on a regular basis each year to provide advice and training. The programs are ecumenical and accessible by all people who live in the local area.
The goals of Embrace Rwanda are in line with the Rwanda government’s “Vision 20/20” Millennium goals and so the model of Embrace Rwanda in Kigeme is now being replicated in other districts, Butare and Shyogwe.