Centre Ubuntu is based at Bwira in western Rwanda and aims at fostering mutually supportive relationships through a skills exchange scheme and collective projects.
"Working together to bring sunshine and smiles back in the lives of the women from Bwira and their families"
Rwanda is a small, landlocked country, densely populated and highly cultivated.
Centre Ubuntu is based at Bwira in western Rwanda and aims at fostering mutually supportive relationships through a skills exchange scheme and collective projects, in order to facilitate communication between members and to help them meet their basic needs.
Bwira is a remote village and also the name of a nearby steep mountain. The soil is poor and compost is easily leached away, especially during the heavy rain season.
As the population grows, less arable space is available. The number of children also increases but not the number of teachers, which means that children can only spend half days at school, to keep the class size to an “acceptable” level. There are 9 teachers for 300 children. When they are not at school, children help in the fields, fetch water or look for food.
The project “Ubuntu” set up a program of sponsoring children to increase their chances of going to and remaining at school. In the last 7 years, no child has progressed beyond primary school in Bwira.
Centre Ubuntu works closely with the women from Abihuje and supports their basket-making craftwork through purchasing the products at a fair price.
We also introduced a system of exchange base on the local trading schemes that already exist in Western countries (exchanging services and products without handling money but by attributing a social value to the exchanged commodity).
The re-introduction of organic farming is planned at Bwira.
Electricity has recently been installed at the centre. The new electric network will initially allow the lighting of a common room and will also facilitate the use of computers and internet access.
Anti-erosion barriers made of reeds and small stones have been erected, to help retain water during heavy rains. They have been tested since a big storm broke shortly after their installations, but they held up!
Seed data (protein-rich vegetables) by were distributed by the Association Kokopelli and six gardening support groups have been established and some gardening tools provided.
Centre Ubuntu has started a program of social tourism with the French organisation Echanges Solidaires et Equitables (“fair and reciprocal exchange”) who is already experienced in organising such programs in Romania, Liban and Burkina Faso.
This will give opportunities to people from the West to discover different facets of life in Rwanda, by spending time with the community of Bwira.
In post-genocide Rwanda, more than ever, it is vital to go beyond differences, to be and to do together.