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HI’s programme in Rwanda is working on inclusive education projects to help all children benefit from education and facilitating access to health care for people with disabilities and vulnerable people.

Longini here playing football in the courtyard at school after he received his new prostheses.

Longini here playing football in the courtyard at school after he received his new prostheses. | © S. Wohlfahrt / HI

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In the refugee camps in Rwanda, HI facilitates access to care and protection for vulnerable people, including people with mental health problems and physical and functional rehabilitation needs. By providing access to technical aids, such as wheelchairs or canes, as well as psychosocial support, the programme works to eliminate existing inequalities and the barriers faced by certain people. It also supports people with specific needs, such as people with disabilities, older people or people with psychosocial disorders to help them to understand and exercise their rights.

In addition, HI works with children, particularly children with disabilities, on inclusive education projects. The programme works with the national authorities to ensure access to education for all by training teachers or making buildings accessible to children with disabilities. Our teams create handbooks and educational tools adapted to different needs, such as Braille textbooks.

HI also runs projects to improve the care and development of very young children. The programme facilitates access to care in the first days after their birth, with a focus on accessible services for babies with disabilities. Our teams support and train parents and guardians to provide a safe and appropriate environment for children, thereby promoting their development and learning.

To help fight sexual and gender-based violence, HI carries out awareness-raising and advocacy activities with the communities. The programme accompanies survivors of sexual violence and trains medical, psychosocial and legal actors to provide appropriate holistic support. It also works with perpetrators of violence to prevent recurrence.

Finally, HI promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in society by supporting organisations of people with disabilities and civil society actors. The programme helps them to identify levers of change and supports their advocacy actions in favour of the inclusion of disability issues in national strategies and the life of citizens.

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Situation of the country

Map of HI's interventions in Rwanda

Although the memory of the genocide and its aftermath remains vivid, Rwanda has seen rapid growth since 1994. Gross domestic product has increased, while poverty and inequality have decreased.

Small and landlocked, Rwanda is a hilly and fertile country with a dense population of about 12.46 million. The political, social and economic context of Rwanda has been profoundly affected by the genocide against the Tutsis in 1994. Between April and July 1994, more than 800,000 people lost their lives. Since then, Rwanda has enjoyed political stability and general security, low levels of corruption and liberal legal frameworks.

Rwanda has set an ambitious goal of becoming an upper-middle income country by 2035 and a high income country by 2050. These goals build on the remarkable development successes achieved over the past two decades, including high growth and rapid poverty reduction due to medium-term economic development and poverty reduction strategies. These strategies reduced inequality between 2001 and 2015, with real GDP growth averaging around 8% per year.

One need remains – the protection and inclusion in society of people with disabilities or vulnerable people. Indeed, despite economic growth and the recent development of basic services such as health, housing and education, Rwanda has a high number of vulnerable people, both economically and psychosocially.

Number of HI staff members: 115

Date the programme opened: 1994

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