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Ties strengthen between Fulton, Rwanda

Ties strengthen between Fulton, Rwanda

Team returns from annual Community Partnership project as second health clinic nears completion

July 2nd, 2013 in News

From left: Bob Hansen, Hannah Minchow-Proffitt, Keeley Cornelson, Garrett Gilbert, Sandra Nivyabandi (a Westminster College student from Rwanda who joined the group for two days), Kenna Cornelson, Jessie Perry, Jenna Teter, Cathy Hartig and Dan Harms of the recent team with the Rwanda Community Partnership pose with their van there. The group just returned from a 23-day trip to continue to oversee microloans, provide aid locals need and exchange culture.

For a group of nine volunteers representing Fulton, Callaway County and Humanity for Children, a trip to Fulton's sister city took them halfway around the world.

Westminster College professor Bob Hansen and several others returned June 21 from a 23-day trip to Kibungo, Rwanda, where they took part in an annual trip for the Rwanda Community Partnership, partnership that connects Fulton and Callaway with Kibungo culturally and through aid.

"Once you travel to a country or an area in the developing world, you realize how blessed we are here with as many things and resources that we have," Hansen said. "Whether you're called spiritually, ethically or morally, it's our responsibility to do what we can to help those who have less.

Hansen began organizing the Rwanda Community Partnership following a 2007 trip to Rwanda through Humanity for Children, a nonprofit that sent groups to scout locations for hospitals. He was invited to Kibungo by Fulton native Nancy McCue, who herself had been there volunteering with an HIV program through a church group.

It was that community that made a lasting impression on Hansen. He returned and began developing the Rwanda Community Partnership. Its first projects began in 2008 in order to build a women's and children's health clinic in Kibungo.

The second clinic the partnership has helped fund is on track to be completed in December.

"When you see the power of the American dollar, what $1 will buy, for not just a whole lot of money you can make a huge difference in the life of an individual family, a village or a very large community," Hansen said. "It's harder to put it all into words until you go and see what's happening and see the power of this kind of a partnership."