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“Cows for Prosperity”: How Rwanda Red Cross Transforms Lives Through Charity Initiatives

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Syverien Twagirayezu, a resident of Mihigo cell of Mukindo sector in Gisagara district is one of the beneficiaries of Rwanda Red Cross charity initiatives.

Twagirayezu and many others received cows from Rwanda Red Cross to assist them in creating economic activities for self-substance.

Offering cows to poor households is a program initiated by the government of Rwanda as one of the ways of pulling citizens out of poverty. Charity organisations like Rwanda Red Cross picked on it and have been supporting Rwandans through the same program.

A cow provides milk to mitigate malnutrition, generate income from selling the milk and also provide manure for use in gardens and plantations of the owner to increase yields.

When a cow gives birth the owner gives the calf to a neighbours who doesn’t have a cow. The neighbours does the same to others. The benevolent exercise goes on and on.

Twagirayezu’s life has changed, like many of his neighbours who have benefited from the program. “My children can now drink milk…they are healthy,” he says. “I am thankful because I never thought I would ever afford to rear a cow…now I have one.”

Apart from the milk and the income, Twagirayezu’s land is more productive with increased yields like potatoes, beans, and banana because of the manure he gets from the cow. His life has changed completely. He has graduated from poverty and does not depend on charity or government stipends any more.

Mukamana Béata is one of the beneficiaries too

Jean Paul Habineza, the Vice Mayor of Gisagara in charge of economic affairs thanks Rwanda Red Cross for the support to citizens in his district, especially at a time when residents in the area are grappling with the effects of the recent disasters caused by heavy rains where over 130 people died and others lost properties including farm produce.

Emanuel Mazimpaka, the communications officer of Rwanda Red Cross says initiatives such as the one cow per family have provided a better approach in which charity organisations can make contributions.

He thanks President Paul Kagame for such citizen-centered initiatives. Mazimpaka was speaking to journalists after delivering more cows. He said out of 16 cows that have been given out, so far seven calves have been produced and given to other families.

Emmanuel Mazimpaka

Rwanda Red Cross also gives out other domestic animals for rearing such as pigs and goats. So far in this district alone, 142 pigs and 92 goats have been given out to 62 households.

As part of the incoming humanitarian assistance to those hit by recent disasters, Rwanda Red Cross has offered three ambulances, a 13km clean water supply system for 5000 inhabitants and toilets to 172 households.

More assistance was also extended to members of 16 cooperatives who will receive soft loans to invest in revenue generating initiatives.

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