Today, I will tell you more about the urban region in Rwanda. I have one child who lives in this area:
He lives outside the big city of Butare, which is located in the Southern portion of the country
Only 19% of people in Rwanda live in and around the big cities.
Unfortunately, for the desperately poor, life in the urban settings is extremely difficult. Most of these families migrated to the cities from the countryside because of poor farming conditions and/or lack of water. Sadly, life in the city proved to be just as difficult. People live in slums outside of the city walls, in small shacks made of mud and wood. Here, living conditions are cramped; large families sharing 1-2 rooms and each home virtually on top of the next.
These slum homes are owned by landowners or by the city and rent is very high for families living in poverty. 2/3 of adults in this area do not work. Those that do work only earn a few dollars a day. Sometimes, it is just enough to pay rent for the month, but not enough to provide adequate food or proper education. Other times, it isn't even enough to pay rent. Families fall into debt and are often kicked out of their home. This causes families to move from home to home often, leading to very unstable lives, especially for the children.
Most of the adults that have jobs work as vendors, selling fruits, vegetables, clothes, furniture, etc. However, they cannot sell their goods in the market. In order to sell in the city market, vendors must own a private stall, which is too expensive for families living in poverty. Instead, these families sell on the side of the road which, as you can imagine, isn't quite as successful as selling in the market in the city center.
Compassion is doing amazing work here (of course they are!) for the children living in poverty. One of the biggest problems in urban Rwanda is instability. Compassion strives to give the children a stable place to just be kids. To play, to learn, to enjoy life.
Each time the children come to the project, they are split into age groups and taught an important lesson. These lessons typically revolve around the bible, music, hygiene, and health.
After lessons, children gather together for a delicious (and nutritious) meal!
On letter days, children with sponsors take time to write a letter to their sponsors, updating them about their lives and responding to any letters they may have received from their sponsors.
Before time at the project ends, children and staff gather to pray. Compassion urban Rwanda has the following prayer requests:
- Pray that micro-businesses of parents will prosper so that they can better provide for their children.
- Pray that children will stay focused on their education and resist the temptation to drop out.
- Pray for children's protection from the many illnesses and safety hazards in the city slums.
- Pray that marriages and families will be strengthened and withstand pressures to break apart.