To mark 50 years of Tearfund, we’re sharing about 50 countries where we’ve worked, celebrating God’s provision and power to transform, and praying for each of these nations. This week we’re in Rwanda.
Rwanda is still remembered for the terrible genocide of 1994, when the Hutu people slaughtered the Tutsi people with an estimated 800,000 deaths, that’s around 70 per cent of the Tutsi population.
In many ways Rwanda has made a lot of progress following the terrible violence, although there is still a great deal of reconciliation work to be done, if lasting peace is to be ensured.
Not enough to go around
Rwanda has a stable government, which has been a great help. However, poverty and hunger are both serious issues: 39 per cent still live below the poverty line, and 16 per cent are classified as living in extreme poverty. Right now, the country isn’t producing enough food to feed its people. This is partly because of population growth, but also agricultural methods and business are badly out of date. Matters are made much worse by changes in the climate.
We began our work in Rwanda in 1970. Then in 1994, Tearfund sprang into action, in response to the genocide, utilising its Disaster Response Unit, formed earlier that year – our first ever coordinated response to a major disaster. Currently we are working in 11 regions of Rwanda – eight poor rural areas and three others on the outskirts of the capital Kigali.
In the villages especially, there is a huge number of vulnerable people – those injured during the genocide, and others who fled the country during the violence and returned with nothing. The districts are susceptible to natural disasters and the effects of climate change, such as drought, flash flooding and landslides.