Friday, 24 November 2017

They call it Rutsiro, I call it second home!

My name is Ingrid Rai Aristide IRADUKUNDA; I believe that I was not born to be served but to serve others. Currently I am volunteering with International Service in Rutsiro, Western province of Rwanda. I am working with KOPAKAMA, a coffee farming co-operative. The co-operative produces green coffee, which is their main product and they are looking to start producing roasted organic coffee.

You may wonder how far more than two months of the course is going, can I say that I’ve became one of your best fan in terms of everything?

A visit to Ejo Heza cooperative
How is it that I’ve got more than I expected even before the end of assigned placement’s tasks?
Being with you during this placement has truly been like extraordinary life experience I will ever have. At first, after reaching in Rutsiro District, I thought that everything was going to take me a lot of efforts and energy to be adaptive and flexible, but it is now like three months has become one week, which is amazing. But as we all know, of course there was some challenges such as being called translator, hiking as for some Rwandans don’t like to hike but all these has made me more trier of something new, I don’t even know if I can say that I’m the best hiker now hahahaahah!!!

Now, it’s been six to seven weeks since I arrived here, my team and I are doing our best in empowering the community through raising awareness on human rights, gender equality, hygiene and sanitation, health promotion and so on.
Conducting basic IT skills training
Basically, we’re the second cohort that is placed at KOPAKAMA cooperative; we had to base on the last cohort’s recommendations as from the baseline survey they had carried out.  Their findings have given us a benchmark to know where to begin from and we focused on those women with low understanding on gender equality, economic empowerment and health in their daily life. So far, we have integrated with Mushubati Sector’s Community in many different activities.

This last week, as we had to attend the midterm review with another volunteer’s team from LUTI where we had to present what we’ve been doing the past two months of the volunteers journey, we also got a chance to visit one of the best Muhanga Art gallery “AZIZI Life” by name, which also made us excited because of hard work that is being done from different artisans. This gallery has more than 400 members, it was so wonderful.

A visit to AZIZI Life Center
Again, it was a great pleasure to provide an English class to the local community, which is done every Wednesday of the week. The community enjoys the class session which always motivates the team as the facilitators. Also the session we carried out this last Wednesday in one of the Field Farmer Schools (FFS) at Gitwa sector, was the best session ever because of how we didn’t scare the rain and kept focusing on our mission to be accomplished, it was really fun I can’t imagine how it was.  

Raising awareness on Human right and Gender equality in Nyakabuye
Making an impact in a community is normally a process; nevertheless, we have laid a solid foundation whereby, our beneficiaries especially women now understand their contribution to the decision making in their lives, families, the importance of gender equality, balanced diet, and their input to the social economic empowerment in their community. I believe that the next Cohorts will move forward to the next levels where our goals will be more achieved and leave a legacy behind them based on what we would have achieved.

A visit to Gitwa
Overall, we thank International Citizen Service for supporting us on daily basis with many different approaches and we are hopeful that together with all stakeholders ICS Team, International Service Staff, our partners and beneficiaries, we can achieve more!


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