Last Updated: 19/01/2021

The Rwandan government tightened restrictions on businesses and public activities on Jan. 4 in response to an increase in cases of COVID-19 and related deaths. Compared to many countries, the numbers of cases (8,848 since March 2020) and deaths (105) are low, but half of all deaths occurred in December 2020. A curfew is in place from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., and facemasks are required in public.

Child development centers in Rwanda are open only for small group meetings of children and youths. Staff are careful to take COVID-19 prevention measures and follow local guidelines. They have been able to deliver nearly 79,000 food packs and more than 414,000 hygiene kits to children and families. Additionally, they have helped nearly 52,000 individuals obtain medical support. The Compassion Rwanda office and local staff continue to offer counseling support during this difficult season.

How is Compassion Currently Operating in Rwanda?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Rwanda, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

Centers in Rwanda have reopened for limited numbers of children and youths at a time and are complying with local guidelines and appropriate COVID-19 prevention measures. Staff members continue to make home visits and phone calls to children and caregivers. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute nearly 79,000 food packs and more than 414,000 hygiene kits to children and their families!

Are Children Receiving Letters?

Letters are currently being delivered in Rwanda, although delivery to and from your child may take a bit longer than normal. We encourage you to continue writing your child, as all children need words of hope and encouragement now more than ever before. Thank you for your ministry!

Are Gifts Being Delivered?

Gifts continue to be distributed in Rwanda. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver, if necessary. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will be notified whether a gift has been designated as a child gift or family gift. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognizing that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

Story From the Field

While the world was starting to experience the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions, Immaculee was confined to the hospital in Rwanda, waiting to deliver triplets.

“I was admitted at the hospital on February 19, after the doctors discovered that I was expecting triplets,” says Immaculee. “It was the first time I had gone for a prenatal checkup, thanks to being registered into the Survival Program at a Compassion center.”

On April 4, Immaculee underwent a caesarian section and delivered two boys and one girl. Devastatingly, one of the little boys passed away the next day.

The transportation restrictions meant Immaculee didn't have the constant presence of her husband, Philemon, as support — to be with her, he had to walk 25 miles to the hospital. The family wasn't even able to attend their child's funeral.

“I was stuck in the hospital bed and I could not bury my child and neither could my other family members attend because they couldn’t travel due to COVID-19 travel restrictions," says Immaculee.

Compassion's church partner came alongside the family in this difficult time. They helped the family to arrange the burial while supporting Immaculee emotionally, as well as providing food and nutritional support so she could breastfeed. Without the support of the center, Philemon says, they wouldn’t have managed the heartbreaking situation.

“God knew the struggles we would go through. That is why he gave my wife a chance to get registered into the Survival Program,” says Philemon. “Odette, the Compassion health social worker, has stood with us as a family through counseling and prayer, and this has benefited us as a family massively. We are gradually coming to terms with our child’s death thanks to the verses and Scriptures Odette shares with us during her visits."

How can I pray for Rwanda?

Pray for safety and God’s protection of the children and families whose homes have been destroyed or are in areas vulnerable to flooding due to the heavy rains across the country.

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