Rwanda's darkest days are hopefully behind it, but many deeply challenging months and years remain. Since the genocide of 1994, when a million people died and over two million fled to neighbouring countries, Rwandans have been slowly returning home. Efforts to rebuild the economy are focused on tea and coffee production, but farming in Rwanda is not easy.
Refugees returning to Rwanda have put the already infertile farmland under great pressure. Drought-like conditions have further compromised crop yields, and consequently Rwanda has much poverty and a very low life expectancy. 11% of its population lives with HIV/AIDS and it has one of the highest percentages of orphans in the world.
The people of Rwanda are in great need of the life-changing hope that child sponsorship can bring to their families and communities. ActionAid, one of the world's leading relief and development agencies have developed a child sponsorship scheme which links people in more affluent countries with individual children in developing countries around the world, including Rwanda.
ActionAid's work in Rwanda has been focused on disaster relief, which involves providing practical aid to homeless, displaced people returning from neighbouring countries. They began work there in 1994, and have continued to run resettlement and rehabilitation programs for survivors of the genocide.
The also continue to work alongside communities to develop the country's basic services infrastructure. This includes working to ensure the supply of clean, safe water, the provision of education facilities, and assisting farmers get the most out of what little, infertile land they have available. All of this work is carried out through consultation and partnership with local communities so that long lasting change can be brought about.
In the 37 years since its inception, ActionAid has reached many millions of people in Africa, Asia and the Americas, and it has developed a wealth of expertise in fighting poverty. ActionAid partners with local organisations and recognises the need to work with communities on their own terms, and not impose solutions. By getting to know the culture intimately ActionAid workers have the best possible opportunity to effect a lasting end to poverty.
Sponsoring a child in Rwanda today will cost you only 50 pence per day. Your money will also go towards development efforts in the town in which the child you sponsor lives. This will ensure the most efficient and effective use of your money.
As a child sponsor you will be able arrange a personal visit with your child and to communicate with them. You can also look forward to receiving special letters and drawings from them, including a new photograph every two years. Additionally, you get to see where and how your money is being spent by keeping in touch with your child's local ActionAid office, and through regular editions of Common Cause, ActionAid's newsletter.
You may also like to consider sponsoring a child through the following trusted agencies: