By Carmel Hurdle, from Rwanda

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In March this year I travelled to Rwanda to run three training courses on the care and protection of children. The courses were co-facilitated with Anastase Rugirangoga from OHFI’s partnership organisation.

The first training took place in Mahoko, to the North of Rwanda near the Congolese border. This course had 50 participants and was in a small local church. After heavy rain, the nearby river had burst its banks the day before we arrived and many houses and businesses had been flooded. A participant on the course, who has 9 children(one a foster child), had lost almost everything. With donations gathered prior to leaving New Zealand, we were able to give the family some money to replace school uniforms and books so that the children could return to school.

The second training course was held in the Mageregere district, about 20 minutes drive from the capital, Kigali. There was a huge death toll in this district, during the genocide in 1994, and some

course participants had lost many members of their family.

During the course of the 3 day training, the course participants identified 2 children in the community whose care they were concerned about. We were able to apply the course learning to formulate intervention plans to assist the children.

The third training course was held at Gasabo, in Kigali. 35 participants from various Anglican parishes attended. Some participants had been raised in foster homes and others were currently fostering children.

This group was keen to apply the “rules and consequences” discipline teachings as opposed to punishment and some tried the new approach out on their children with success.