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In the East of Rwanda in a rural area of Gatsibo is a Church supporting many poor villagers of different faiths including 70 women, Ros - our Chairman, met on her research visit in March 2020. The women all had HIV due to the legacy of the Genocide that ended in 1994.

A Pastor at the Church formed an HIV support group, the woman told Ros that there were many more women who could not attend nor could their children go to the school as they were too ill to travel and had no decent clothes & were ashamed.

The women who work on the land tried to help the others & said that some of them saved a tiny amount each week for coffins so that they could be decently buried. This is their immediate future without food or work as they are unable to take their medication without eating, so they know that if they go hungry, they will die very soon.

The Church bought the group two sewing machines so that some of them could learn a trade & work from the back of the building, but the women need space, more machines & a building to work from to form a cooperative. CDUK are committed to provide a sewing workshop for these women so that they are able to make and sell clothes at the market, provide food for themselves and their families and survive.

We want to help the women to make a secure building where they can meet, with room for at least 10 sewing machines, tables & storage so that they can learn a trade, support themselves, each other & their families. We hope to be able to run the workshop using wind and solar power to reduce the impact on their environment and the overhead costs to maintaining the project.

We hope maybe they will not need the coffins so soon as they will be able to eat, take their medication, earn a living & look after their children safely. Please help us to achieve this goal.

The Church also hosts a school with a food programme where more than 150 children receive a daily meal & often, this will be all the children have to eat in a week. At least 60 of the children attend school free because they are orphans or have mothers with HIV, who are unable to get work as no one will work with them & so they & their children go hungry due to lack of income and the mothers soon die leaving orphans.

There are no orphanages in this area and orphans have to depend upon the food programme at the Church or the good will of a poor rural community.

In the summer of 2020 CDUK provided the Church with two water harvesting tanks to support the Church Food Programme and supply clean water for food preparation and better hygiene. Many thousands of young children a year die as a result of polluted water. Previously the Church collected fresh water in tanks by bike from many miles away for cooking & used rain water from muddy puddles for washing.

CDUK also want to sink a well near the Church for village use by people of all faiths. Currently the only clean water has to be collected & paid for at a government water source several miles away at approximately the equivalent of one penny per litre

Volunteers have been making dresses for the girls from unwanted pillow cases and Bermuda shorts for the boys from recycled materials, they have held fundraising events to raise the money for postage to the project.  For more information and dress and shorts patterns and how you can get involved go to our page on Pillowcase Dresses. Thank you.