Giving Back To Those Less Fortunate

In Rwanda, there is a community service day from 8:00am to 11:00am, on the last Saturday of each month called Umuganda, meaning community service.  Umuganda is designed so that the citizens themselves can contribute and build the country..

Participation in Umuganda is usually supervised by a manager, or Umudugudu chairperson who oversees the effectiveness and efficiency of community participation.On this day, business activity halts, public transportation is limited, and people are seen everywhere working. People participate in cleaning streets, cutting grass and trimming bushes along roads, or repairing public facilities or building houses for vulnerable persons. Umuganda has contributed to the growth and development of Rwanda.

The notion of Umuganda is very much in line with one of the core pillars at Agahozo-Shalom: Tikkun Olam, a Hebrew phrase that means "repairing the world" (or "healing the world") which suggests humanity's shared responsibility to heal, repair and transform their community.  ASYV Founder Anne Heyman believed deeply in the notion that we can all heal by helping others.  Below is a blog post about our very own ASYV students giving back to the community throughout the year, not just on the last Saturday of each month.  

It is always amazing when our kids in the Village approach the Management team with incredible ideas of ways to help people in need. Recently, the ASYV Tikkun Olam Club volunteered their time at the local Rwamagana Hospital, and took part in the International Day of the Sick.

In the words of, Xavier Nurukundo, a Senior 6 student (Grade 12), and project promoter within the Tikkun Olam Club, “We are thankful that we are granted free health insurance and care at Agahozo-Shalom, but it is important to help other people, especially poor children, whose parents can not afford insurance, or pay for their treatment fees”. 

That statement is representative of the thought process that prompted Nurukundo and his friends to organize a fundraising event to aid the neighboring Hospital and support those it treats on a daily basis. To support the initiative, Nurukundo asked fellow students, teachers, family mothers, clinic staff, and Village management to contribute money for the cause.  The collected funds were used to purchasefood items, sanitation and hygiene materials, as well as contribute money towards the annual subscription of health insurance put aside for sick children who would otherwise not have access to treatment. In addition, the Tikkun Olam Club prepared an educational play, songs and dances to entertain the hospital patients, which brought them  joy and happiness, and greatly increased their morale.

We were happy to see how our donation was received with respect and consideration by the hospital administration and patients.  It never fails, the ASYV kids make us so proud!

Submitted by Dimitrie Sissi Mukanyiligira, ASYV Advocacy and Partnership Coordinator