With the help of funding from Comic Relief, rYico has recently begun work on a major new project that will help support vulnerable and homeless girls and young women living in Kigali. Not only is it the first transit refuge home for young women in Kigali but it’s also the first in the whole of Rwanda.
It aims to empower these women by taking positive decisions about their lives by advocating for regulatory and social change to improve their situations.
Project coordinator Vivenine Mugunga said: “This is the first women’s refuge to be established in Rwanda despite the high rate of violence towards women both domestic and on the streets. Vulnerable and homeless girls are often invisible to society and decision makers because they are “hidden” in the domestic and sex-trades, lacking a strong presence in public life. We will provide access to a safe refuge home for girls in urgent need or in danger.”
We are delighted to announce that rYico has recently purchased a new plot of land in the Gasabo District of Kigali. This provides an exciting new opportunity for Centre Marembo to expand its projects.
The land will provide permanent shelter for boys and girls, with further space for skills training and educational facilities, and potentially even space for long-term volunteers to stay while working with the project.
With further funding the plot size will allow the centre to develop an area to grow fruit and vegetables and raise chickens. There will also be a large play area.
At the en of 2011 rYico was successful in securing a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a two year project focussing on the preservation of memories from Rwandans living in the UK. The project will celebrate the heritage of the UK Rwandan community as well as commemorating the 1994 Rwandan genocide and will include interviews, workshops, a mobile exhibition and a short book.
Audio recordings and transcripts of the interviews will be stored by Sussex University Library and the British Library Sound Archives.
Centre Marembo craft producers have been working hard to develop a range of new crafts that are being sold in Rwanda and through Shop4Rwanda.com.
All of the new products are made by hand by trainee tailors and weavers at Centre Marembo. The centre has developed a number of groups at the centre who are trading their products through Shop4Rwanda and also at markets in Kigali.
Any profits are fed back into the projects to help secure a sustainable livelihood for the producers.
Centre Marembo is currently placing focus on reintegrating boys back into the community. Under Rwandan law, the centre is only entitled to care for the boys at the Umugongo House until they turn 18.
The Centre has already worked hard to support the transition of some of the 18 year-old boys back into the community. The centre is involved in sourcing places for them to live and provides a facility to seek employment and to undertake training in employable skills. In December 2010, eight boys will be reintegrated into the community on completion of their secondary education.
The reintegration of the boys at the age of 18 is a key challenge for Centre Marembo. Not only must the staff at the centre ensure that those in the house are receiving the right amount of care, they must also ensure that those that leave the house do so with the support network that they require to live independently.
The Umugongo House is one of the centreʼs major successes. Thanks to its supporters, the project has brought significant change to the lives of dozens of young boys that would otherwise be living and working on the streets.
The Umugongo House is always looking for ongoing support. If you would like to support the project, you can do so by making a general donation which will help us to buy bed, sheets and school uniforms.
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