COVID-19  Rwanda Project #46640

Pandemic Aid for Families in Rwanda

by Rwanda-one4one
Pandemic Aid for Families in Rwanda
Pandemic Aid for Families in Rwanda
Pandemic Aid for Families in Rwanda
Pandemic Aid for Families in Rwanda
Pandemic Aid for Families in Rwanda
Pandemic Aid for Families in Rwanda
Pandemic Aid for Families in Rwanda
Pandemic Aid for Families in Rwanda
Pandemic Aid for Families in Rwanda
Pandemic Aid for Families in Rwanda
High school cousins
High school cousins

As we continue to navigate the uncharted waters of the Covid pandemic, all of us at Rwanda-one4one recognize we are only as strong as you, our caring community of supporters. You give with your hearts and put your trust in our ability to deliver hope to the Rwandan families we serve.

It is a blessing that no one in our Rwandan families has become ill from Covid-19. The children are all back in school, thankfully. We receive their report cards and many are receiving above average grades. They do not have to worry about missing school due to lack of funds, and they are able to enjoy school meals again.

Unfortunately, schools have raised fees almost 30% since reopening to cover pandemic-related expenses. The financial strain on families that could barely afford the fees before has caused many children to have to leave school. If it were not for our donor funded education project, the children in our families would also be at home. Thank you so much for recognizing the value of a good education for Rwandan youth!

We also continue our focus on health, both physical and mental, for the families we support. The stress and worry during this uncertainty have caused issues that need medical attention. The silver lining in all of this is that Rwanda has, thus far, been spared a heavy infection rate. 

Our founder, Nancy Zeller, has made all the travel preparations to travel to Rwanda in September. The women will be able to create more Umva wearable products, and the visit will do all the families good. She brings reading eyeglasses, donated cellphones and laptops, and other necessities. (If you have a generation 5 or later cell phone you can donate, let us know!) All are eager for the visit and to get to work creating Umva one-of-a-kind originals. When Nancy returns, she will prepare to showcase Umva textiles at a New York trade show in October.

It is often said in Rwanda: “it is hard but not impossible” and that is how we must continue our work in this unprecedented time. If they can endure their hardships, we can bring solutions and hope whenever possible.

New life and hope
New life and hope

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Thank you!
Thank you!

Back in the spring of 2020 when we first began the Pandemic Food Relief project for our Rwandan families, we thought it would be needed for a few months - perhaps through the end of the year. Of course, as the virus has continued to spread and new variants have appeared throughout the world, the hardship for these families, already struggling, endures. We have increased our goal so that we can continue to provide food relief as well as some medical support for families suffering from stress-related illnesses as a result of the pandemic's impact on their lives and livelihoods. 

Your ongoing generous support of this special effort is critical and profoundly appreciated. With your gifts we have been able to assure that our families have at least two healthy meals a day, whereas before our help they were struggling to afford even one. With the children back in school, they are able to access school-provided meals, but that does not help the adults.

Our board met in January and committed to continue our efforts to provide monthly food relief until the families we support are able to regain their hard-earned incomes as the lockdown eases. We could not do this without your steadfast support. Thanks to you all, including our generous monthly donors who help us plan our cash flow in support of these incredibly proud and hardworking families.

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Mariya preparing eggplant and rice
Mariya preparing eggplant and rice

For most Rwandans, every day is hard work, yet during the pandemic every effort is compounded. Not only is it harder to work and pay for essentials, but social distancing and mask wearing are especially difficult in a culture where close physical contact is the norm. It is the custom in Rwanda to reach out in passing, to greet neighbors, family and friends with a touch, or a cheek to cheek hello. It is difficult for our families to resist this natural behavior, but they are trying hard and learning to cope with the requirements. 

Despite this cultural challenge, Rwanda is managing the pandemic well. The government is strict about citizens' adherence to the guidelines. Presently it is the rainy season in Rwanda - their "winter" - when it is colder and wetter than usual. Yet the number of cases remains extremely low and the recovery rate is strong. For that we are very relieved and thankful - a silver lining amidst this pandemic. 

For the past 8 months, through your generous support, we have been able to provide a modest monthly food allowance for ten families, plus medical support for several minor illnesses. Our families have suffered psychological stress due to isolation and the fear of contracting Covid-19. This anxiety has caused some stomach and heart issues, all thankfully treatable.

Your continued support for this temporary relief is helping these vulnerable families make it to the other side when we all hope to find a new normal. We are all so grateful for you!

Mariya on a Sunday afternoon
Mariya on a Sunday afternoon

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Kids enjoying breakfast
Kids enjoying breakfast

As we reported in July, with our families unable to work and the children unable to get meals at school, we saw the urgent need to provide food and rent support and your generosity has been overwhelming. For the past five months we have provided monthly food assistance, rent subsidies and have covered several emergency medical issues.

Our mission to help Rwandan families help themselves by providing support for education, job skills and training, has been hard hit by the COVID-19 lockdown. Our dyers have been unable to get new fabric and we have not been able to sell their beautiful wraps through many of our normal retail outlets due to closures. Our taxi entrepreneur was shut down for months as well. With the kids unable to get their meals at school, there was enormous financial stain on our already struggling families, not to mention the disappointment of no longer being able to contribute to their own support at the same level.

Your generous support for this temporary relief is helping them get through to the other side, when we all hope to find a new normal. For this we and they thank you - from the bottom of our hearts.

Thanks to you
Thanks to you
Fresh produce!
Fresh produce!
Thank you!
Thank you!

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Taking care of each other in the pandemic
Taking care of each other in the pandemic

Just a few months ago, COVID-19 was not a threat to Rwanda but as we have seen, the virus is not selective of location or any other factor. In some ways, Rwanda had the benefit of watching other countries and how they handed the surge of cases. The country went into a strict lockdown in March. Citizens had to stay in their houses, except for buying food and medicine. No one was able to travel between provinces for any reason. Presently, the active cases are extremely low. Rwanda has been pro-active, and the results are impressive. What is not clear with this virus is how it will spread in any population across the months ahead.

With our families unable to work and the children unable to get meals at school, we saw the urgent need to provide food and rent support and your generosity has been overwhelming. For the past 3 months, we have assisted with rent payments, monthly food assistance, and emergency medical issues.

For the members of the families we serve who had been earning income and were suddenly without it, your financial support has enabled them to have three meals a day instead of the one they were down to, as well as being able to stay in their modest rental homes. They and we are profoundly grateful for your generous support.

Caring for her grandchildren at home
Caring for her grandchildren at home

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Organization Information

Rwanda-one4one

Location: Westmoreland, NH - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @rwanda-one4one
Project Leader:
Nancy Zeller
Westmoreland, NH United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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