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Many Tutsi people were deported to Rukumberi in 1959 following the widespread massacres and destruction of their homes in other parts of the country. At the time Rukumberi, in southeast Rwanda, was an area of natural savannah known to be inhabited by tsetse fly and other wild animals, the tutsi were not expected to survive. The region was marginalised and isolated, resulting in little or no socio-economic development. However, the fertile soil and the hard work of those transported there has made the land productive.

In 1994 the genocide began in Rukumberi on April 7th. Tens of thousands of people were killed. The few survivors in Rukumberi were deeply traumatised, very suspicious and did not trust anyone. They complained that all NGOs that visited them came only for pictures.

In 2005 our partner,
Solace Ministries, established a survivors group in Rukumberi with the intention of an approach which should be ‘comprehensive and include the spiritual, social, mental and physical aspects of their lives, leading to healing from trauma and economic sustainability’. This led to a programme of Christian outreach, orphan care, agricultural support and house building.

Airdrie Ebenezer Church partnered with Rukumberi and helped to purchase land - 4 hectares of cassava were planted which helped to feed the 290 members of the survivors’ group, 3 good quality cows were distributed, 4 new brick houses built, a number of broken homes repaired to a high standard and a clean water filtration system installed. The latest project is to support the development of income generating projects through the provision of very low or no-interest loans.