Fundraising | TEaM 4 Rwanda

In April 2015 we had the privilege of joining Stephanie Piper and Stephan Willemse from Devonshire House School on a visit to some of the amazing projects that Rwanda Aid supports in the remote South West corner of Rwanda.
So many of the projects we saw moved us immensely, but perhaps none as much as Nkombo Nursery.

Nkombo is an island on Lake Kivu on the border with Congo and is one of the poorest parts of the whole country. The children at the nursery had swollen bellies from malnutrition and were packed tightly into the single classroom.

The nursery is not only a place for the children to start their education, it also provides one meal a day (often the only one) and keeps the children busy so their older siblings can go to school instead of looking after them while the parents work. The education of today’s younger generations is central to the future development of the country.

We are lucky enough to live in a society where every child is guaranteed a place at school.  A mother may choose not to work in order to raise their offspring, or perhaps hire a nanny. In Nkombo they have no choice, and the nursery becomes a vital part of the economy.

When we visited Nkombo Nursery there were about 250 children crowded into one small room. They were delighted to see us, especially Matilda (aged 9) and after short speeches from the teachers and Mrs Piper the children sang songs for us. The pupils’ lunch followed in the form of half a plastic cup of bean porridge (distributed by us). Afterwards many of the kids held our hands and joined us for a 30 minute walk back to the lakeside, during which the initial shyness and the language barrier were broken down.
As we rowed our boat back to the mainland, we realised that brief encounter with these children had left us with a strong desire to do something that will have a real impact on them and their future.

Thank you for helping us to build a new classroom for the children of Nkombo.

Tim, Elena and Matilda

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Events | Photo Exhibition

A Photo Opportunity for Street Children

An Exhibition for Rwanda Aid
If someone were to set the challenge of taking seven penniless young people from the streets of south-western Rwanda, and within the space of six days turning them into professional photographers, you would be forgiven for thinking they had drunk too much local banana beer.

Yet over Easter 2014 this is what prep school head, Richard Follett, and professional photographer, Alessandro Quisi, managed to achieve. To begin with they encountered suspicious, even hostile, young people, who had so often been let down by adults in
their short lives.
But as the teachers worked with the group, the hostility gradually turned to enthusiasm and excitement and the young people began to believe in themselves and their future. The students’ remarkable photographs in this exhibition were taken after just one week’s training.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to do this course. I don’t think I am very good at taking photos, but you have made me believe in myself and I have more confidence now than I can remember.” Leoncie

The students have now formed a small business co-operative. Thanks to the generosity of a Vinehall parent, each student has his/her own camera, and they have a small studio in which to work with a printer and other necessary equipment. Initially their plan is to visit villages and offer individual or family prints at very low prices, and already they are busy with orders. They also plan to produce fliers for local businesses. Rwanda Aid is a UK registered charity (No 1124634) dedicated to supporting and training the vulnerable and disadvantaged in South West Rwanda. It works closely with the Rwandan National Commission for Children to identify and support children abandoned to the street, wherever possible re-integrating them into their families or giving them the skills to lead responsible, dignified and independent lives.
Exhibition Dates 2014
13th – 28th September – Rye Festival
Rye Studio School, The Grove, Rye, East Sussex TN31 7NQ
2nd to 3rd October – 1066 Gallery
The High Street, Battle, East Sussex.
(At the rear of Costa Coffee)
4th November – Kigali, Rwanda
25th November 2014 – Devonshire House School,
26th November 2014 – King’s House School,
27th November 2014 – Wetherby School,
2nd December – De La Rue PLC, Basingstoke
3rd December – Beazley, London
4th December – The Gresham Centre, Gresham Street,
London, EC2V 7BX
All proceeds from sales of the photographs will go towards training other poor and vulnerable young people in Rwanda and setting them up in small, co-operative businesses