Reaching out to Rwandans

PUBLISHED: 07:50 11 February 2009 | UPDATED: 23:00 15 June 2010

WITH its history of ethnic tensions, which culminated in the massacre of 800,000 people over just three months in 1994, Rwanda has been one of the world's trouble spots for decades.

WITH its history of ethnic tensions, which culminated in the massacre of 800,000 people over just three months in 1994, Rwanda has been one of the world's trouble spots for decades.Poverty is real and the need for development aid is great.That's why charity CARE International UK is helping to fund the launch of new small business - boosting farmers' ability to grow their own crops and changing people's lives.Deborah Underdown, 26, of Gittisham, has just returned from Rwanda.She works for CARE and was tasked with giving a celebrity a tour of the charity's project.Composer David Arnold, who has written the music for the last five James Bond films and hit comedy series Little Britain, is CARE's ambassador."I showed him what we do and how the money we raise is spent," Deborah told the Herald."CARE delivers international aid to 70 countries around the world."It is development aid and provides food and micro-finance to help start up new businesses."CARE also works with groups who have been marginalized. We provide adult literacy education and information about human rights."I showed Mr Arnold how we are ensuring children attending pre-school receive a hot meal and are able to learn in safety."The stark reality of life in a developing country shocked Deborah and even reduced her to tears,"I saw orphaned children who are bringing up their younger brothers and sisters," she said."It was an eye-opener. I realise how privileged I am to live in Britain."Some things brought tears to my eyes."Deborah, who formerly attended Feniton Church of England Primary School and The King's School, in Ottery St Mary, revealed: "I met a 20-year-old woman with HIV, who was bringing up her two younger brothers."Their father was killed in the 1994 genocide and their mother died of AIDS in 2001."In 2009 Rwanda is still struggling to overcome its past, although there are signs of rapid development - thanks to organisations such as CARE and the determination of its people.A minority of Rwandans continue to grapple with the legacy of almost 60 years of intermittent war.The infamous genocide, which shocked the world, was sparked by the death of Rwanda's then president, Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, whose plane was shot down.Tutsi rebels were blamed, but they have denied involvement.To find out more about CARE International UK's work, visit the charity's website, www.careinternational.org.uk


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