Thursday, July 28, 2005

RWANDA PARTNERS : Meeting the Tough Issues Head On

Rwanda Partners was founded in August 2004 by Tracy Stone in order to work alongside the people of Rwanda to help them to rebuild their devastated national community and to help with reconciliation so as to restore Rwanda from the tragedies of its past.

There web site states that: "Rwanda Partners is dedicated to connecting resources amongst Rwanda's most vulnerable populations: Widows and Orphans, Child-Headed Households, Street Kids, Prisoners, Prostitutes, and the Rural Poor."

What they are doing is:

- Promoting Transformation and Reconciliation through Evangelism

- Providing Training and Education

- Encouraging Economic Development, International Investment and Trade

- Reducing Poverty by Building Capacity

Tracy met in Seattle with some of Rwanda's top government officials and businessmen, and found that her vision for Rwanda Partners that she acquired in 2004 was one that was also supported and encouraged by the Rwandan government.

It was made clear to her that the leadership of Rwanda was (and still is) eager to help facilitate in any way that they could any individuals and organizations that wanted to offer assistance to make a positive difference in their nation.

Rwanda's government and business leaders continue to invite the outside world to provide this help in a variety of areas. They are looking for training and education in all arenas of Rwandan public life that is greatly needed. They encourage outside investors to come to Rwanda examine their business climate and to help to open new markets for the export of Rwandan products. It is also of paramount importance to the national leaders of Rwanda that the old images of their country racked by genocide be replaced by new visions and images of a country growing in harmony and unity.

Given nation's tragic history where the people of Rwanda suffered the most horrible genocide which claimed the lives of close to 1 million people Rwanda Partners has tried to help it "climb from the depths of tragedy."

Rwanda Partners has responded to Rwanda's looking to the international community for help..."to educate the world about the courage, strength and incredible God-given ability to forgive that is today being demonstrated by the Rwandan people. And Rwanda Partners has responded to this invitation by developing an organization that will provide vital human and financial resources that will help restore the nation of Rwanda as well educate the rest of the world about what is possible when a nation chooses to forgive and to heal."

One of the projects in which Rwanda Partners is engaged, along with the support of the Rwandan government, is the Women's Training, Production & Education Center in Rural Kigali. This center that is being built will be a national training, production & education center in Nyamata, Kigali Ngali. This center is for women and girls to learn vital vocational skills that will transform their lives because they are particularly vulnerable to the devastating effects of poverty. The training of rural women has been given the highest priority by the Rwandan government, as it is believed that this is a highly effective means of reducing poverty. So strong is the governments support that they have donated the land for the center free of charge.

Women from all over Rwanda will come to this center to learn the valuable skills that they will need to produce high quality goods for the marketplace.

In addition, there will be a college located at the center so that advanced education can be provided to Rwandan women and girls. And it is intended that particular attention will be given to those who have been orphaned and widowed by the genocide.

Rwanda Partners also has a Street Kid Restoration Project. This project is designed to encourage the many of young Rwandan living in the streets to escape that life. Most of these children have either lost their parents to the genocide or their parents are incarcerated as suspected participants in the genocide. It is the hope that the organization can provide these children and teens with the necessary job training, apprenticeships, schooling and housing.

In addition to getting the street children to turn their backs on life on the street, Rwanda Partners is working to provide prostitutes with job training so that they can escape their current lives as well. These women have been driven by poverty into prostitution as a means of providing for their families. In addition to job training, there is an attempt to form small Self Help Groups to lend community support to these vulnerable women.

Rwanda Partners is also diligently trying to facilitate investment in Rwanda by connecting US businesses with investment opportunities in that economy.

Focusing on sustainable development the government has put in place policies and programs to: rebuild society and facilitate national reintegration, and reconstruction. Hopefully, this will lay the basis for sustained economic growth and poverty reduction.

Rwanda is not afraid to take on tough challenges, and for that, they deserve our respect and support. Of course, there is more to this story than is covered in this short article. So pay Rwanda Partners a visit at: and see how this group meets the tough issues head on.

No comments: