Rwanda partnership offers chance for alternative gifting

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With Christmas just a week away, time is running out to find that perfect Christmas present.

Bob Hansen with the Rwanda Community Partnership Project suggested Callaway County residents consider some alternative gift options.

“Alternative holiday gifts that help improve the lives of people in our partner community in Rwanda are a great way to demonstrate your compassion for people who are less privileged,” Hansen said. “If you’re stuck not knowing what to give and know someone would appreciate having a donation made in their name, you might consider one of these.”

Noting that most of the staff of the Rwanda Community Partnership Program and its umbrella organization, Humanity for Children, are volunteers — only one staff worker in Kibungo receives a salary, thus leaving administrative costs taken from donations at less than 1 percent — Hansen offered the following alternative Christmas present suggestions:

• The district hospital in Kibungo gives children with HIV check-ups, medicine and the opportunity to play with other infected children on Saturdays. There also is an arts therapy program that includes music, drawing, drama and games. A gift of $25 will purchase art supplies for those sessions for a month. A gift of $50 will buy educational materials for an entire year, which includes sending the children home with educational lessons to share with their family.

• Children and families living in some of the outlying villages near Kibungo have limited access to clean water. A gift of $25 will provide five families with educational information about the medical consequences of drinking contaminated water.

• On a related note, many children living in those rural villages need medicine to remove parasites from their systems because of drinking contaminated water. Twenty-five dollars will treat one child for a year. A gift of $3,000 will establish a well and clean drinking system for the entire village.

• One Rwanda Community Partnership Project program that already has seen success is purchasing a goat or pig for a rural family. Not only does this particular type of gift allow the families a source of income in breeding them and selling the offspring at market, Hansen said it is a gift that truly keeps on giving: A female from the animals first litter is given to another family in the village to help them get started on the same path.

“Owning a goat or a pig is a very big deal for families in this area,” Hansen said in an email. “Feeding these animals is not a problem because of the lush vegetation in this area, but most families don’t have the resources to purchase a goat or pig. The gift of a single pig to one family will lead to gifts of pigs to many families within a few years.”

A gift of $35 will purchase a pig for a family. A gift of $50 will purchase a goat.

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