Our Friends in Kiyombe
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Please click on the link below to read or save the latest Kiyombe newsletter.
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There is an old Rwandan proverb which says ‘God travels round the world during the day but returns to Rwanda at night’. However since the genocide in 1994 many Rwandans said that ‘God has forgotten his way home.’ It is now 20 years since the horrific genocide in Rwanda when almost a million people were slaughtered within a 100 days while the world stood by and watched. Bad news sells newspapers and makes headlines. But the good news is that Rwanda is beginning to prosper. The hand of God can clearly be seen in the significant changes within Rwanda. With divine help ordinary people are forgiving those who have caused them unbelievable harm. There is repentance and forgiveness which is leading to reconciliation amongst many people. More children than ever before are attending school, the infrastructure and roads are being built across the country. There is Hope as ’God has certainly not forgotten his way home’.Thanks to the efforts and generosity of many in All Saints’, Barry and St Baruc’s Barry Island over £15,000 has been raised to buy Rwandan cows through ‘The Kiyombe Cow Scheme’ by the following :- Talks; Lent Austerity Lunches; Coffee Mornings; Mothers’ Union; PCC donations; Ladies Guild; St Baruc’s coach trip and other kind donations. The Kiyombe Cow Scheme which has operated since 2004 provides cows and calves to poor widows and orphans who are working on a geranium growing co-operative called ‘Ikirezi’ meaning precious pearl in Kinyarwanda. The cows provide much needed milk and good quality manure for fertiliser on their small plots of land.
These cows have gone to family groups on the geranium growing co-operative which is managed by Nicholas Hitimana ( Rwandan co-ordinator of the Kiyombe Cow Scheme). The co-operative is linked to the Episcopal Church, Parish of Kiyombe with which All Saints’ is twinned. Widows and orphans are helping to grow geraniums which are distilled to provide essential oils. This oil has many uses including anti- mosquito properties which are vital in the battle against malaria which is the biggest killer in Rwanda. Many of those on the co-operative have now put their children in school, have health insurance and are building relatively better homes. The family groups which will receive a cow are selected from amongst the very needy within the co operative by the following criteria:- • They must have a suitable piece of land • They must grow fodder food for the cow • They must build a stable at their own cost (usually built with strong branches and banana leaves at minimal cost). • They have the approval of the group that they can look after the cow, are needy and are trustworthy. The cows are cross bred being 75% Friesian and 25% local breeds (Ankole). The idea being that they will provide a high milk yield but will also have a good degree of disease resistance. The Rwandan Government in their 2020 Vision Policy is also very keen to encourage cow schemes and cow ownership for all poor families across the country. They have inspectors who will be able to check on the health and welfare of cows within their districts.
The Kiyombe Cow Scheme grows as cows are artificially inseminated and new calves are handed onto other poor family groups when they are a year old. One such calf is being given to Bakute Javenti in the attached photograph. She is a widow whose husband was killed in 1994. But she knows how to look after a cow and has a shelter with fodder and is willing to share the milk with others. Over 20 cows have been either born or purchased via the scheme which is now been expanded to included a dry area in the East of the Country called Kibungo.The cows need plenty of water and eat ‘elephant grass’ as fodder. So monies have also been used to help pay for ‘rainwater harvesting’ collecting rainwater from a large corrugated iron roof over a stable which feeds into a tank.
The surprising thing about Rwanda is how beautiful it is. It is a small mountainous country in central Africa known as the ‘land of a thousand hills’. Subsistence farming, in family plots spread across the hills, is still the mainstay of life for most of the Rwandan population. Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa and is about the same size as Wales. Life is very hard for most Rwandans who work on the land for about 1$ (70p) a day. Many of their children are malnourished with stunted growth and run around in bare feet wearing discarded western clothing. Over 60% of the population in Rwanda live in poverty and 40% in extreme poverty. A decline in agricultural production, unfavourable world markets (notably that of coffee) and the consequences of the 1994 genocide provide the main reasons for the current situation.Rwanda is still coming to terms with that orgy of ethnic strife when almost one million people were massacred and two million fled the country. However despite their hardships there is a great deal of faith and hope for the future. Education may be their only escape from poverty. Rwanda is investing in education and its people as it possesses few natural resources.The principal causes of mortality and morbidity in Rwanda today are communicable diseases. These illnesses can mainly be prevented through better hygiene and behavioural change. AIDS and malaria are rife.There are other powerful words which were spoken by The United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan which are also written on the walls of Genocide Memorial Site in Rwanda.’’The International Community failed Rwanda and that must leave us always with a sense of bitter regret”…..”The International Community is guilty of the sins of omission”.
Nelson Mandela said the following at the Make Poverty History rally ‘While poverty persists, there is no true freedom’. Rwanda has however enjoyed considerable debt relief and government to government help in the last few years. But grass roots help is required as well. Simple links such as this cow scheme supported by the Church and Unison together with many others can make such a difference to individual lives
Kiyombe update 2011
Thank you to all those that have attended and contributed to the highly successful Lent lunches at All Saints’. The money has been raised to help purchase further Rwandan cows and provide veterinary care through ‘The Kiyombe Cow Scheme’. We have all enjoyed a warm sense of friendship and community at our Lent lunches which mirrors the friendship and community that is being enjoyed by those benefitting from the cows. In a spiritual sense it is as if we have come together as a community in the joy of giving and receiving good food. We have recently been sent a report on the progress of the scheme in Rwanda. 15 cows have been provided under the scheme and 19 calves have been born. The impact on the families (mainly widows and orphans) who received the cows has been significant in many cases. Unlike the typical Rwandan cow which produces little milk the cows we have given are dairy cows. An average of 10 litres of milk is produced daily. This provides nourishment for the children. Moreover the excess milk is sold, with the proceeds used to purchase food, clothing and to help pay for school fees. The manure is used for fertilizer which enhances crop yield thereby further assisting the family. Once the first female calf has been born and given away the owners are able to keep additional calves which helps multiply the benefits listed above. However there have been a number of obstacles to overcome with cattle in Rwanda. The main one is getting proper treatment for cows when they become ill. Securing veterinary care in a timely and affordable fashion continues to be the biggest challenge in this project. It is difficult to obtain the services of the vet when they are needed most and the medications are expensive. Thus treating a sick cow is very challenging and not all the initial cows survived.
A second problem is the difficulty in raising enough food for the cow. Sufficient land is required to grow the grass and in the dry season irrigation is problematic.A third complication is that some of the widows have little or no support. As a result simply caring for the cow and providing adequate shelter for the animals is difficult.Never the less the Kiyombe Cow Scheme is developing according to plan. In most cases the quality of life for the beneficiaries is increasing and the families have garnered significant benefits. In time the positive effects will expand even further, providing assistance to the broader community as additional calves are given away.Cow / Calf Statistical Summary 2011:- · 15 cows have been provided · 6 cows have subsequently died · 1 cow was sold due to illness · 19 calves have been born · 3 calves have died · 7 calves have been given away · 2 calves will be given when they are mature enough · 3 calves were sold for income · 1 male calf was sold (proceeds used to buy a female) 5 cows are currently pregnant.Please continue to pray for Rwanda as they pray for us and our link with ‘The KiyombeWhen they said ‘Never Again’ after the Holocaust, was it meant for some people and not for others? Apollon KabahiziHe who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord (Proverbs 9:17)Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.’(Proverbs 31: 8-9)
How You Can Help
Pray for the success of ‘The Kiyombe Cow Scheme’ and the geranium co-operative ‘Ikirezi’ and our twinning link with The Episcopal Church, Parish of Kiyombe’. See the display on Rwanda & ‘The Kiyombe Cow Scheme’ at the back of the church Help raise funds for more cows Pray for continued Peace; Justice; Repentance; Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Rwanda where there are many deep psychological wounds that remain after the genocide. Contact Rowan Hughes on:- firstname.lastname@example.org
for further details.