The Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District set up a project in 2007 to support work in Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide of 1994. In the language of Rwanda, Kinyarwanda, the word Komera is the word you might say if you were helping up a person who had fallen down. We hope to give a "lift" for at least some of those who live in Rwanda, one of the poorest countries of the world, which so recently has suffered one of the worst genocides of the twentieth century.
Rwanda is a landlocked country, sharing borders with Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. About 60% of the population lie below the poverty line; over 80% have less than $2 a day to live on.
In the District we have had two Rwandan ministers, serving in Stour Valley and Walsall: we have received much from Rwanda already and the project hopes to allow us to gain much more as we develop relationships with the Free Methodist Church of Rwanda. In 2009 Bishop Samuel Kayinamura of the Free Methodist Church in Rwanda visited the UK for three months based at Queen's Foundation in Birmingham. He visited the district, including Springdale for an Autumn Concert.
The objectives, and progress made, include:
- to raise awareness about the issues facing the Rwandan people as a result of the genocide. A group of young people and leaders from the district spent three weeks in Rwanda. Two of our young people, Emma (participant) and Lucy (leader), went on this trip.
- to raise the funds to build an isolation ward for the Kibogora Hospital, near the shores of Lake Kivu in the southwest. Revd John Howard, the district chair, went there in April-May 2007 and saw how desperately it was needed. The £25,000 for this part of the project has now been raised. If you would like to see the location of the hospital it can be found here in Google Maps (opens in your browser) or here in Google Earth (separate application required).
- to provide better facilities at PHARP, the Centre for Peace, Healing and Reconciliation, in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Thousands of pounds have already been sent to PHARP. Now that the money for the isolation ward at Kibogora has been raised, the focus of the Komera project is on PHARP. The aim is to fund the office block and seminar rooms for the new centre for Peace and Reconciliation. Further details are in the Komera newsletter available from the link at the top of the page.
- District trips to Rwanda have taken place, most recently a youth trip in July 2015—blogged here.
Already, much has been done to raise money across the district. Sarah Timms from Admaston Methodist Church finished walking from Lands End to John O’Groats on August 27, 2007. As she walked people responded to the request for donations fastened to her rucksack! A profit of £1200 has also been made on the sale of CDs of devotional material.
In our own circuit, various activities have been organised, including a supper at Beckminster on 17 November 2007; karaoke hymn singing morning at Cranmer on 24 November 2007 and a church family lunch at Wombourne on Sunday, 20 January 2008. At Springdale, the collection from the Welcome Service of Revd. Robert Ely in September 2007 raised £270 for the project. A quiz was held at Springdale on 19 April 2008 which raised £336 towards the cost of Lucy and Emma's places on the district trip to Kibogora and PHARP.
(with thanks to Revd. John Howard and Brenda Shuttleworth for updated information)