(This picture is of houses built by the Rwandan Government for the widows of the recently genocide.)
To better understand the impact of the Rwandan Children Educational Foundation and the lives of the people who are going to benefit from it, one needs to understand the context of Rwanda, as the main focus of this program.
Rwanda is a small, mountainous, landlocked and densely populated central African Country. With a total area of 26,338 square kilometers, it is one of the most densely populated in Africa with a population of 10.5 million. The population density amounts to 415 people per square kilometer. The natural population growth is 2.6% per year. With so dense a population and high growth rate, most areas of the country have seen their soils degraded over several decades of exploitation.
Socio-political and historical context
For about a half century Rwanda nation experienced repeated ethnic based turmoil. In 1959, Hutu ethnic group launched a revolution which overthrew the Tutsi monarchy rule. This resulted in several hundreds of deaths and displacement of more than 200,000 Tutsi into exile. In 1994 the 3 decades’ long ethnic division culminated with the Tutsi genocide, which resulted in the death of more than one million Tutsi and moderate Hutu.
The genocide destroyed people and infrastructure. The Rwandan’s social fabric was torn, and numerous children were left on the street as orphans. Even those left with parents who were already poor to begin with, struggled to survive through harsh conditions of poverty, community mistrust, loss of will to live, etc. The major issue is that a new generation of children and youth inherited all kinds of challenges (poverty, emotional scars, etc…) from their parents who themselves were seriously affected by the genocide.
The number of households living below the poverty line was estimated to be 44.9% in 2011 Agriculture is one of the most important sectors in the economy and constitutes 33.3 % of GDP, with services contributing 52.9%. Coffee and tea are the major export crops although intense efforts are being put into horticulture. Subsistence farming characterizes Rwandan agriculture.
The “Vision 2020” is the Government’s master plan for development for the next 20 years (from the year 2000). The goal of this plan is to move Rwanda from a poor country to a middle income country, with a GDP per capita of 1,250 USD by 2020 from 250USD in 2000.