For three weeks now, The Dufatanye Organization (DO) has been distributing food in Rwanda to victims of the Covid-19 Crisis in Rwanda, with help from the The Zinzendorf Mission and all those who have made contributions to relieve the hunger of thousands of people.
The Zinzendorf Mission has been working closely with the Dufatanye Organization since 2008, and raises funds to pay the staff salaries and many of the poverty relief efforts of the DO.
Here is a report on what has been done so far.
COVID 19 FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS NYANZA, RWANDA - Report from Rhoda on the ground
April 20, 2020
On March 21st, 2020 Rwanda instituted a lockdown on everyone in the country that has been extended now until April 30th, 2020. Only essential businesses could be open and everyone was ordered to stay at home unless otherwise moving for emergency reasons. To date Rwanda has 147 cases.
Subsistence farming comprises 88.5% of the Nyanza District, with a 17.6% extreme poverty rate among the 323,719 individuals. The poverty rate in the farming villages is more accurately calculated at 98% in Nyanza (Southern Province). The farmers are highly dependent on good soil, proper rain and sunshine to grow the food they need for daily consumption.
Within 2 weeks of the lockdown many families were in need of food. The historically marginalized are not agriculturists and therefore do not have vegetables growing around their home. They are the ones to make clay pots or carry sand on the construction site. The government mandated that all of the non-essential jobs be discontinued for the time in hopes of curbing the COVID19 outbreak. This placed a hardship on too many of the population, so Dufatanye and ZMission partnered in a fundraiser in order to supply food to starving families of Rwanda.
Dufatanye received permissions from the local government and police for trucks to go to Kigali and bring the food supplies needed (maize flour and beans). The large quantity needed cannot be acquired in Nyanza. There are many police checks along the way that slows the process, although for safety sake.
Dufatanye began their distributions with the Village of Hope, historically marginalized and Coop members at the center in Nyamagana. The beneficiaries would come to the center and receive their distribution of maize flour, beans and soap. Every distribution requires 10 staff to manage the line, measure and weigh out the supplies. The first day of distributions we handed out food to 1,206 individual. Soon the need grew exponentially and the distribution numbers needed to increase as well. People were starving. The local cell leaders and government created lists of the most needy in the villages, so that Dufatanye could help. Friday we served food and soap for 524 individuals. Saturday we served 1,085 individuals and 1,044 on Monday for a total of 3,859 individuals who have food for a week. That is 1% of the population, but the act kindness and community truly matters to them.
Many of them on the way out the door would thank us one more time for the help. One older beneficiary said “Thank you for the help, the day before I slept on an empty stomach. Today I will not go to bed hungry.”
One lady beneficiary “My husband abandoned me and my 7 children after spending 2 days in the house with no food. He’s not a bad person, he felt bad that he cannot support his family and so he went away.”
We helped one young guy who’s wife had just delivered a baby and he couldn’t bear to go because he had no food to give her. We were able to help him out, so he could go see his baby girl.
One historically marginalized lady with 5 children was dancing after receiving her food package and commented “I use to make clay pots and carry sand and I’ve not been able to feed my family, now I am going to eat and the children will be happy.”
To understand the hardship of desperation, “My husband and I resorted to going out to collect food every day, all day and come back late at night when the children were asleep because we cannot handle the children asking for food and we have nothing to feed them.” From a family of 8.
“We send the children to visit the neighbors when it’s time to eat, so that the neighbors will have mercy and feed them.” Family of 7
“I wake up in the morning finding people at my house demanding food support and yet as a community member there is no way for me to support all of them and my family”. Godfrey quote
“We are only able to do this work because the local government and police gave us special permission to move and work (following COVID19 guidelines), so that we save people from starving.” Quote from Godfrey.
The chairperson of porters in Nyanza town. “We use to get food after offloading trucks and helping customers carry their items home, now with the quarantine, we cannot get anything to eat. No customers, no trucks, no money, our life is in misery.”
Total Distributed so far, as of April 20, 2020
39,885 kgs Maize (Corn) Flour (39.8 metric tons) ,
9,800 kgs (9.8 metric tons) Beans,
779 bars soap
An update on our latest Prayer Alert for World Shapers Club Rwanda:
1. There has been a successful delivery for Mother and baby boy!
2. Mother and baby remain in hospital.
3. Dad will be able to see them both tomorrow.
4. Dad has been at the clinic with young daughter who has been diagnosed and treated for some infections but NOT coronavirus. They are now home.
We are grateful to God and to you, dear ones, for your prayers.
Esther and Mary
Esther Children's Network
Please pray for the family of a World Shapers Club minister in Rwanda:
1. Mother-expecting fourth child any day was taken to hospital not feeling well…delivery is expected within hours. Pray there are no complications or underlying issues. Pray for safe delivery for child and Mother.
2. Young daughter of same family was also taken to the hospital today feeling suddenly very ill. No cause yet determined.
The World Shapers Club teaches children how to pray, and engages them actively in praying, and helps them see how God answers their prayers. It is a ministry of Esthernet.net
Reducing the amount to each family to serve more people and reduce the chances of crime borne of desperation
Our initial goal was to serve 320 families. When the local government saw the effectiveness of our distribution, and recognized that we are the only Non-Government Organization working anywhere in the area (as far as we know), and since the government does not have the resources to provide for all the people's needs, they have asked us to dramatically increase the number of people we serve. The additional people they have assigned to us and asked us to feed include approximately: 50 widows (heads of households with children), 100 prostitutes (heads of households with children), market porters (people whose job is to carry goods in the markets), and others.
We have also discovered that we can reduce the amount we give to families, as some people were receiving no food at all, and were begging for only 1 kg (2.2 pounds of flour) so that they could feed their children. At the last distribution, approximately 200 people were asking for help that were not on our list, and we had to tell them we didn't have enough to help them. Now we have decided to reduce the distribution amount by half, which reduces the amount each family receives, but allows us to give something to the many who have no help at all, such as the additional people the local government has asked us to help.
According our the staff on the ground, they also think this is good because it decreases the chance that the families who were receiving 20 kg are less likely to be robbed by those who were receiving nothing.
For $18, the Dufatanye Organization can provide one weeks' survival food supply to a family of six people as follows:
10 kilograms (22 lbs) of Corn Flour
3 kilograms (7 lbs) of Beans
One (1) 12" bar of soap for hygiene
$18 will provide food for 1 week for 1 family
$180 will provide food for 1 week for 10 families
$4,500 will provide food for 1 week for 250 families