In June 2021 Wilderness Safaris and Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Rwanda were able to complete specific projects, and implement a number of others. With donations from our amazing guests and the Chairman’s Foundation, we have been able to improve the lives of many people in the communities in the vicinity of Magashi Camp at Akagera National Park, Bisate Lodge at Volcanoes National Park and the community around Gishwati-Mukura National Park.
The total funds of USD 61 480.50 will have a lasting impact on the lives of many. Furthermore, the implementation could not have been completed without the efforts of the Community Committees that we have established in each area, the enthusiasm of the headmasters of the schools and the endless motivation and inspiration of Aline Umutoni, CITW and Community Co-ordinator and Ingrid Baas, Wilderness Safaris Rwanda Operations Manager.
BISATE CITW & COMMUNITY UPDATE – JUNE 2021
We had a fantastic month of CITW Rwanda developments, as well as a number of community projects in the area around Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge. Previously, the Bisate Community Committee had agreed to implement various projects in the Bisate villages, at Bisate nursery school, Bisate Primary School and at Bisate Secondary School, and in May we started preparing for most of these exciting improvements. In June they were finalised and completed!
The Bisate Community Committee was specifically set up by Wilderness Safaris and CITW to ensure that funds received from our guests are used for projects that the whole community supports. The Community Committee has a close working relationship with the sector and district leaders, and manages the implementation of the projects, ensuring that budget is adhered to.
The first large-scale project that was completed this month was the distribution of sanitary packs to all 311 female students at Bisate Secondary School. The girls were struggling to continue their studies during the time of their period, as they lacked the sanitary supplies to assist them. With the generous donations of guests who visited Bisate Lodge, we were able to support the girls with a sanitary pack each. The sustainable sanitary packs consist of two pairs of underwear and six re-usable pads, packed together in a pretty kitenge fabric purse. The re-usable and eco-friendly packs are made by Muhisimbi Voice of Youth, a local non-profit project that supports teenage mothers in the surrounding villages. In this way, we provided sewing jobs for the teenage mothers in order to provide the sanitary packs to the Bisate Secondary School students. How is that for woman empowerment! The 311 sanitary packs are worth a total of USD6 620.
Another improvement that would allow the girls to be able to come to school on all the days of the month, was to construct toilet and bathroom facilities for them at the school. The construction was completed at the end of June and includes a shower, and toilets, running water, a restroom and a small store-room for clean linen and other hygiene supplies. Thanks to USD5 100 in donations from our kind guests, we were able to complete this project this month.
Evelyne Irakoze, a student at Bisate Secondary School commented: “I want to thank Englide (Ingrid), Aline and the guests from Wilderness Safaris as my supporters. They assist me with so many materials needed at school, like uniforms, pens, notebooks, calculator and my school fees. They help me to study and to get good marks and I can be proud at school. All the support will help me to achieve my goals in the future, because I don’t meet the challenge to complete the study. Many blessings and thank you!”
With our help, the Tuzamurane Co-operative started a large-scale agricultural and indigenous tree nursery at Bisate village. The nursery will provide indigenous saplings to the national park when the park expansion begins, and will also provide agricultural trees as a food source for the community. Two plots of land were purchased with our financial assistance, but are registered in the name of the Tuzamurane Co-operative. The nursery infrastructure is now completely finalised, with rows and rows of seeds already germinating, a water point to irrigate the saplings throughout the season, a toilet for the workers, and the necessary tools for the agronomists. The total value of this project is USD12 000.
From now on, the Tuzamurane Co-operative will be able to maintain the nursery with the proceeds generated by their sales. We wish them a successful continuation, and we hope that many trees will be produced by the nursery in the coming years.
Towards the end of May 2021, a water purification tank was installed at Bisate Primary School. This purification tank ensures that the harvested rainwater (a project previously completed with the support of CITW and Wilderness Safaris) is suitable for all students and teachers at the school to drink. The project, worth USD1 500 was made possible by a donation from Bisate guests.
The very little ones in the Bisate community attend the Ejo Heza Nursery School in the Nyarusizi cell. This small school needed some basic supplies like chairs, Tippy Taps, soaps, face masks for all children, hand sanitisers, mats, and mattresses. From a kind guest donation of USD500 we were able to provide this to the nursery school in May 2021.
Last, but not least, a generous donation of USD2 100 from guests was used to support those families most in need with a community-based medical insurance called Mutuelle. The leaders of the Kaguhu and Nyabigoma cell provided a list of 158 households, consisting of 679 people, who will receive the medical insurance for one year, starting in June 2021. These households are situated in one of the seven villages (often grouped together as the Bisate villages) that surround Bisate Lodge. We believe that medical insurance is vitally important, and should be accessible for everybody, especially in this time of the pandemic.
Our next project will be implemented in July, so watch this space as preparations are already in full swing to provide all 4 974 households – consisting of 22 965 people – in the entire Kinigi District with three Hass avocado seeds or saplings. Through this project we are showing our commitment to all villages in the Kinigi area, and providing large-scale support in order to ensure that each household has fresh, healthy and nutritious avocados to supplement their diet on a daily basis.
Innocent Twagirimana, Executive Secretary of Kinigi Sector said: “From the bottom of our hearts, and on behalf of the entire sector and me personally, I would like to say thank you very much for your assistance in everything. May you be blessed and protected”.
A big thank you to our generous Chairman’s Foundation, whose contribution of USD7 500 is making this possible.
Aline had the last word: “I am so delighted that we were able to complete these projects, especially with the COVID challenges that we are facing – it is so important to show our continuous support to the schools and the people. I must have the best job in the world, as it gives me so much joy to make the people happy”.