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World of Difference

Welcome to Rwanda, where you are enabling whole-life transformation through local churches by bringing people together.

Smiling women sitting next to a pile of fruit and weighing scales
Rwanda, World of Difference

Welcome Murakaza neza Murakaza neza ( English translation ) ( Kinyarwanda )

Welcome

You’ve arrived in Rwanda, which – despite making significant recent progress – still struggles because of poor agricultural practices and not enough employment opportunities beyond farming. But your support is helping many communities break the cycle of poverty by bringing people together to support each other and develop new skills.

Come with us and see a World of Difference in Rwanda, where local churches are making bold advances.

How your support transforms lives

Rwanda in numbers

Working in Rwanda

Transforming lives in Mukarange, Kayonza District, Rwanda.

Tearfund works with a number of partner organisations in Rwanda to help people find new sources of income. Much of this work is through self-help groups, these are small-scale community savings schemes. These groups support people from low-income backgrounds to gain the knowledge and ability to start and invest in small businesses.

A group of people using sewing machines

Members from a tailoring self-help Group in Huye, Rwanda

Pastors facing up to a pandemic

Claudine returned to her home, the village of Kabuga, where she grew up. Alongside her husband, Rubagumya, they settled back into the community after living and being educated in the nearby Rwandan capital, Kigali.

Woman standing holding a farming tool

Claudine, a member of the Alpha self-help group in Kayonza, Rwanda

Illustrative pastors stamp

Life in rural Kabuga was different to the city, but Claudine and her husband soon settled in, the couple serving as local church pastors. To earn money, Claudine also worked as a school teacher and Rubagumya as a driver.

But they also knew that they had to become farmers to provide enough food for the family. So Claudine joined a Tearfund-supported self-help group, called Alpha, set up by their local church. ‘Most pastors are dependent on a tithe,’ says Claudine. ‘But we wanted that money to go to the church, while we depend on the work of our hands.’

For a few months, Claudine enjoyed learning farming skills while teaching. But then the pandemic reached Rwanda and the government ordered a lockdown…

The lockdown proved devastating to the community. Claudine and Rubagumya’s income was slashed. ‘I immediately lost pupils,’ says Claudine, ‘because I earned money from teaching and schools were now closed across the whole country. My husband couldn’t work either.

‘Things were not going well. It was a tough time indeed. But I had faith that it was going to pass. I would tell other Christians that, when the world brings its own plans, the Lord will give us his Holy Spirit to discover new ways.’

So, rather than just passively waiting for it to pass, Claudine and Rubagumya started 40 days of prayer. It proved inspiring…

‘We chatted to each other and decided that – since no vehicles are moving, no motorcycles or bicycles allowed – we could walk as we still have legs. We can still go to the fields and farm.’

A woman reading a bible
A woman with a baby and a child

Top: Claudine, reading her Bible, is also a church pastor in the village Bottom: Claudine with her son, Joshua, and daughter

So that’s what they did, creating a bountiful banana plantation. Now, when someone is sick in the community, Claudine and the Alpha group visit them with gifts of bananas and other produce.

Although Claudine’s self-help group were not allowed to meet in person, they phoned each other to pray, encourage and offer support to prevent loneliness and isolation. ‘We had conference-call prayers at 2pm. Then at 3pm, we would talk to each other. The group helped us feel togetherness. It was beautiful.’

‘When the world brings its own plans, the Lord will give us his Holy Spirit to discover new ways’
Claudine

Now Alpha can meet again, safely, in person. And the group has helped Claudine to earn more income for her family. She took a loan to buy a pig and when it had piglets, she sold them, paid back the loan and earned a good return. ‘I couldn’t believe that just a pig could give you big profits,’ she says.

Thanks to regular support from people like you, the community has discovered that the transformation Jesus offers is not just for when life is over, it’s also for today. ‘In a godly way, a healthy soul lives a healthy life,’ she says. ‘When you have a healthy soul, you live well. It all rolls together like milk and butter.’

Two photos, the first of a group of pigs and the second of a mother and a child

Top: With a loan from her self-help group, Claudine bought a pig for extra income | Bottom: Claudine and her son, Josua, outside the home they built while locked down

A radio

Radio is a crucial method of communication in rural Rwanda

Rwanda Radio beats Covid confusion

With few televisions and limited internet access, information in isolated villages is often relayed on the radio. This is a lifeline to many communities, where 99 per cent of the population have access to broadcasts.

So, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, and lockdowns were enforced, the Tearfund team in Rwanda took to the airwaves to spread accurate and comforting information on Christian radio stations.

Tearfund’s Rwanda Country Director, Emmanuel Murangira, and local church leaders delivered pre-recorded talk shows to broadcast across the country. As well as encouraging people to have faith and keep praying, these shows shared life-saving health advice and accurate information about the virus.

A woman washing her hands

Beatrice, leader of the Alpha self-help group, keeping clean during the pandemic

Chatting about the challenges of disability

A man standing behind another man who is sitting in a wheelchair

Dieudonne, a member of a self-help group for people with disabilities

Dieudonne lives in the village of Rwintare in Kigabiro, Rutunga. Twelve years ago, while working in a mine, he had a catastrophic injury that left him paralysed. He now uses a wheelchair and is supported by his dad, Jean Baptiste.

Living with a disability in a rural village where food and income is mostly from farming, makes it a tough life. But Dieudonne joined his local church’s self-help group for people with disabilities.

Now, alongside his business repairing radios, mobile phones and other electronic equipment, he joins in with the group’s craft activities. It has proved to be life-changing for Dieudonne, who used to spend most of his days in his home.

‘I started meeting with people who had similar problems to me,’ he says. ‘It helped me to stop feeling alone. When you meet with people and realise that you are not alone, it helps you think better. When we sit together and chat about the challenges we all face, we encourage one another. And that’s a big relief.’

A man taking apart mobile phones

Top: Radios were crucial for distributing accurate health information during the Covid-19 pandemic | Bottom: To earn more income, Dieudonne is learning to repair phones and radios

Hilly green landscape with trees and a wisp of smoke in the background

Revisit previous destinations

Take a look back at all the other amazing World of Difference destinations here.

See destinations

Thank you for blessing people in Rwanda and across the world through prayer and giving. Soon we will take you to a new destination.

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