|Pictures say so much
Please find submitted above, my photo reports
of the various mission trips we are conducting. Again, thank you for
your support and I pray that these pictures bring you joy and
Uganda: urgent appeal
Half the population of UGANDA is under the age 15. The country is
relatively stable after many years of conflict, but children are at risk
because of food shortages, displacement of communities, and poor access
to health and social services. Large numbers of children have been
orphaned by HIV/AIDS, as well as being infected and harmed by it in
other ways. The number of street children is growing.
The main causes of death among children are malaria, pneumonia and other
preventable diseases. The government has spent most of its limited
health budget on single issue campaigns, which has left little spare
money for developing an integrated and sustainable healthcare system.
LoveGod Outreach International Ministries works to improve children's
lives by focusing on health issues including HIV/AIDS, child protection,
Rwanda 10 years on
06/04/2004 Ten years ago this week some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate
Hutus were killed in the genocide that broke out on 6 April, the worst
planned ethnic killing since the Holocaust 50 years earlier. The events
of 1994 ripped through Rwandan society causing ruptures that last to
this day. In the midst of the genocide and the ensuing refugee crises,
Rwandan children experienced some of the worst child protection abuses
known to humankind.
years on how far have Rwandans come in healing their wounds? What is the
humanitarian context in the country today? How have Rwandans tried to
reconstruct their lives? We spoke to Save the Children UK’s Programme
Director Peter Sykes to find out how children are faring in Rwanda
today, and what their prospects are for the future.
The picture is mixed. Great strides have been made in a number of areas
– a testament to a deep and widespread desire on the part of citizens
and decision-makers to forge a new future for the country. Peace has
been achieved within Rwanda’s borders. This has been supported through a
multifaceted programme of local elections, the reintegration of refugees
and combatants involved in conflicts in neighbouring states, and through
a huge push to develop civic education.
Tentative steps have also been made towards reconciliation at local,
national, and regional levels, for instance through the efforts of the
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to prosecute genocidaires and
through community-level Gacaca initiatives.
Finally, a desire to rebuild society is clearly in evidence at a
community level, perhaps most poignantly displayed by the high numbers
of children who were orphaned or living on the street that have now been
re-absorbed into community or family care.
However, there is still a long way to go. The indicators for children –
who make up 50 per cent of Rwanda’s population - are fairly dire. One
million children are orphans, and 200,000 of these are living in
child-headed households. With 40,000 children born to HIV-infected
mothers every year, numbers of orphans are expected to rise.
The Government has made a commendable effort in the education sector –
indeed this could be viewed as one of Rwanda’s greatest achievements
over the last decade. An impressive 97.5 per cent of children were
enrolled in primary education in 2000, compared with 66 per cent in
Health services however, have made little headway. While many health
clinics that were shattered during the genocide have been rebuilt, fewer
are used now than in 1995. The cost of healthcare is out of reach of
Issues relating to the cost of accessing health services also have a
direct impact on HIV/AIDS rates, which, if they continue to occur at
their present rate, will preclude any hope of real development in
Rwanda. In 2001 a staggering 500,000 Rwandans were living with HIV/AIDS,
13 per cent of them children under 15. At present, anti-retroviral drugs
for people living with HIV/AIDS are virtually non-existent. Save the
Children has identified groups who can work together to try to address
prevention strategies in particular relating to protection of vulnerable
children, and to promote safe sexual and reproductive health practices.
What does the future hold for Rwandan children? Peace, hopefully, and
continued stability. But if the very real needs and concerns of children
are to be addressed, then decision-makers must start taking children
more seriously. The Government must, as a matter of course, begin to
address the specific dynamics of child vulnerability and poverty to
factor in the specific needs and rights of children into every aspect of
the Government’s response, from planning, to budgeting, to operational