VRUK Friends and Supporters Open Meeting October 2018
Tricia, Using our website www.villagerwandauk.com Tricia linked up to her blog. It outlines the project from her first visit to Gasundwe in February 2011. Tricia found children too hungry to walk to the nearest primary school at Viro, one and half hours walk away. Many village homes were in desperate need of repair. Nobody visited Gasundwe because it was such a difficult journey, so there was no health service, no source of clean water, no school and, for some people, no hope. This village had been the childhood home of Fidele, who was known to Tricia because they both lived and met in the Rochdale. Later that same year, Paul Cockcroft and Jack Lofthouse, also from Rochdale, visited the village. When they returned home, they were inspired to raise money so the youngest children could be fed and a teacher appointed for a nursery school. This was the beginning. Things grew from there to the point where a UK registered charity was formed in 2015.
Chris, as treasurer, gave an overview of the financial position of the charity. He explained how supporters’ donations support nursery education and are now being used to promote income generation projects.
Margo explained what is happening right now in Gasundwe and the surrounding area of Gihombo. She recounted her recent visit, which is outlined on the website www.villagerwandauk.com
John, experienced in microfinance and business start ups, explained the importance of the community being able to become self sustainable beyond 2020.
Rose, our intern with business and finance skills, spoke about her plans to support VRUK in Rwanda. She will be spending 6 months in there from January, to work alongside Theogene, our Rwandan coordinator, developing income generation projects, including tourism, in the Gihombo area.
Final Session: Partnership and Future of Village Rwanda UK
Darryl pointed out that despite being one of the poorest in the world, Rwanda aspires to become a strong and united nation whose economic development is accelerating. We were reminded of the contrasts within the political and social situation - the ambition and increasing affluence in the capital city, Kigali, as opposed to the continuing poverty of rural Rwanda. This context has lead to a focus on, and funding of, income generation projects for VRUK’s involvement in Gihombo up to 2021.
Lynne explained that trustees have important decisions to make as 2021 approaches and that these income generation projects must promote increased levels of self sufficiency, particularly with VRUK planning their exit. Participants at the meeting were asked for their views on the readiness and range of local these projects, and for suggestions as to how VRUK might strengthen the composition of trustee membership in the future. The ensuing discussion was really useful, with notes collected for further discussion at VRUK’s AGM the following day. The outcome of this trustee discussion will be published.