The Ubumwe Community Center, an organization supporting people with disabilities in the city of Gisenyi, in Northwestern Rwanda, since 2005, is developing a Camphill-inspired community project in the village of Mwogo. Mwogo is south of Kigali, the country’s capital, in Bugesera District, one of the country’s poorest areas. Most people here live off subsistence farming. Many have limited access to education. People with disabilities struggle even more than others to find opportunities for schooling, vocational training and to make a living.
UCC is already running vocational education programs for people with disabilities in Mwogo, including in tailoring, hairdressing, culinary arts and farming. Some of the participants travel for up to three hours each way, on foot or by bike, to attend these programs.
Inspired by the Camphill communities they have visited, and by the connection with the Camphill Movement in North American and in the Southern African Region, the team at UCC has begun the development of a small life sharing community that will allow people with disabilities from the region to find a physical and social home while receiving vocational training. The first two family-style homes of this pioneering community are now nearing completion.
From June 27 through July 3, 2022, Becky Rutherford from the Camphill Academy in the US and Jan Goeschel from the Council (and the Camphill Academy) visited and worked with members of the community. Together with Viateur Uwambajimana, the coordinator of the project, pioneering housemother Divine Furaha, community members with disabilities including Apolline Uwizeyimana and Emmanuel Nzubahimana, and Anastasie Nyiransanzamahoro, a mother who has been a leader in bringing the project about, they worked on bringing color to the houses through interior lazure painting. In this artistic community-building activity, they were supported by Yvan Sagamba, a young artist from Kigali, who also helped introduce the new technique to a group of local painters.
We hope you enjoy the pictures from these days, filled with encounters, conversation, work, art and joy.