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Rwanda

More than 20 years on, the effects of the genocide of the Tutsis are still apparent in Rwanda: 29% of the country’s inhabitants suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Handicap International helps them cope with the psychological distress and promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in Rwandan society.

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More than 20 years on, the effects of the genocide of the Tutsis are still apparent in Rwanda: 29% of the country’s inhabitants suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Handicap International helps them cope with the psychological distress and promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in Rwandan society.
More than 20 years on, the effects of the genocide of the Tutsis are still apparent in Rwanda: 29% of the country’s inhabitants suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Handicap International helps them cope with the psychological distress and promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in Rwandan society.

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Rwanda was seriously affected by the genocide of the Tutsis which left 800,000 people dead in 1994. In 1996, two years after starting up its work to assist the victims, Handicap International launched its first mental health project.

More than twenty years later, the country still suffers from the highest level of post-traumatic stress disorder in the region. Despite the national mental health policy put in place as early as 1995, the genocide is still the main reason for this. Handicap International organises mental health actions with Rwandans who are suffering from psychological distress. The organisation specifically supports people with disabilities who are experiencing psychological disorders after suffering violence, e.g. by setting up discussion groups.

Handicap International also takes action to help vulnerable Rwandan children, especially children with disabilities. The organisation carries out awareness-raising and advocates for the strengthening of child protection processes in place in Rwanda, with the aim of protecting children from sexual violence. It also works with the Ministry of Education to guarantee access to education for all children, e.g. by training teachers and making buildings accessible for children with disabilities.

Handicap International promotes the inclusion of Rwandan people with disabilities in society, in particular at community level. The organisation offers support to disabled people’s organisations, providing them with technical and financial assistance. This enables these organisations to pursue actions to promote the rights and civic participation of people with disabilities.

In order to improve the ways in which disability is dealt with in Rwanda, Handicap International is conducting occupational therapy training and simultaneously is calling on the government to recognise the profession at national level. The organisation is also working to improve epilepsy prevention and care, especially for mothers and children.

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Background

Rwanda is slowly recovering from the genocide of the Tutsis, took place between April and July 1994.

More than 800,000 people lost their lives in 100 days. The surviving population was plunged into a situation of extreme distress, and the genocide marked the beginning of an unprecedented ethnic conflict in the very heart of Africa.

Two decades later, the country is making significant progress: according to the World Bank, per capita GDP has risen five-fold, poverty levels have fallen by approximately 25% and inequalities have been reduced. The Millennium Development Goals concerning the reduction of infant mortality rates have been met and Rwanda is well on the way to achieving the goals relating to primary education for all, gender equality and reducing the mortality rates of children aged under five. Poverty and income inequalities have also been reduced.

One necessity remains: the protection and social inclusion of people with disabilities and vulnerable people. Indeed, despite the economic growth and the recent development of basic services, such as healthcare, housing and education, the Rwandan population includes a large number of people who are vulnerable, both economically and from a psychological and social point of view. Nearly 29% of Rwandans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and 53% from depression linked to the genocide. 

People with disabilities are also denied a role in society, and the authorities do not take care of them. The technical and financial resources earmarked for dealing with disability are still very limited, and civil society, energised by the numerous local NGOs which champion the rights people with disabilities, needs better support.

Key Figures - Rwanda - Handicap International
Key Figures - Rwanda - Handicap International
WHERE your support HELPS

Partners

  • Prevention and case-management of age-disability-gender-based violence through an approach to mental health

    • The mental health division of the Ministry of Health
    • 5 local organisations

    Promoting the civic, social and economic inclusion of vulnerable people 

    • Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)
    • StriveFoundation Rwanda

    Ubuntu Care: protection of children with disabilities from sexual violence (Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya)

    • Association pour l’encadrement sûr des enfants orphelins et autres enfants vulnérables de Kivumu  (APESEK) 
    • KOMERA Centre
    • Ministry of Gender and Women Promotion / National Council for Children

    Promoting an inclusive socio-educational approach to meet the specific needs of disabled students

    • Kigali institute of education
    • Rwanda Education Board
    • Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)
    • ADRA Rwanda
    • L’association Jya Mubandi Mwana de GASABO
    • La congrégation des Sœurs Bernardines / CEFAPEK à Kamonyi
    • Le Collectif TUBAKUNDE, le diocèse de Nyundo / Centre Komera à Rutsiro
    • Ubwme Community Center de Rubavu
    • Le district de MUHANGA
    • Autorités locales de Gasabo, Kamony, Muhanga, Rutsiso, Rusizi, Rubavu and Karongi

    Promoting access to care for epileptic patients and their community  inclusion in in the Western Province of Rwanda

    • Ministry of Health 
    • Rwanda Epilepsy League (REL)

    Building the capacities of disabled people’s organisations to promote the civil, social and economic involvement of their members

    • NUDOR 
    • AGHR

    Implementing basic occupational therapy training in Rwanda

    • College of Medicine and Health Sciences
    • Ministry of Health

    Promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities through an inclusive and community-based rehabilitation 
    approach

    • Gahini centre 
    • Action for Inclusive Education Development in Rwanda (AIEDR)
    • General Disabled People’s Organisation of Rwanda (AGHR)