The 1994 genocide in Rwanda left disaster in its wake. Numerous children were orphaned, HIV spread and the Rwandan community was crippled as more people fell below the poverty line. Countless stories of despair could be seen around communities, even years after the tragedy occurred.
Christine Akimana is 41 years old and a mother of five. She and her husband were both diagnosed with HIV. They suffered through discrimination and ridicule as they were accused of contaminating each other with the disease.
When her husband died, Christine was left with no options and was unable to provide for her family. The tragic events led Christine to fall into a great depression. She refused to continue her treatment.
Christine was chosen for the FXBVillage program in Gasharu. And through dedicated FXB counseling and coaching, she finally agreed to return to the health center to get treated.
FXB came to Rwanda in 1995 and rebuilt 528 houses that were destroyed in the war, giving 2,600 people new homes. FXB Rwanda expanded its work to financing and operating an employment training center as well as teaching courses in English, French, management, human rights and AIDS prevention. Enormous strides in the improvement of the education system were also made, as FXB built dormitories and classrooms and provided more than 6,000 children with an improved learning environment.
FXB also aided those impacted by HIV. Education, group therapy and trauma treatments were given to the mothers and children affected by the disease. The entire community, particularly the youth, teachers and other leaders were educated in the fight against the spread of HIV.
In 1998, FXB started a program for empower vulnerable families by strengthening their economic capacities. This program was the first FXBVillage in Rwanda. In 2009, FXB received funding from United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to implement 12 FXBVillages in Rwanda. Since then, 68 FXBVillages have been developed – lifting approximately 34,000 adults and children out of poverty.
Today, Christine is full of joy and life. She is fully involved in the FXBVillage program and is looking forward to the future. She plans to put up a small vegetable trade business and has built relationships with other participants.
“I am so grateful to FXB. I know my life will change completely,” she said with a beaming smile.
Through FXB and the FXBVillage Model, Rwanda was given a new hope. More and more people, like Christine, are now moving forward with their lives, leaving the painful memories of the 1994 tragedy behind them.