Ministry Highlight: Rwanda

We began our ministry in Rwanda in 1980 with the Child Sponsorship Program. In 2008, we started the Leadership Development Program, and the Child Survival Program followed in 2010.

field with mountains in the background

We were forced to close temporarily due to the war and genocide, but reopened operations in September of 1994. The first country director was appointed in 1995. Also in 1995, our President and CEO Wess Stafford visited Rwanda in an effort to reunite churches and pastors who had been divided during the war.

Country Director

man in tie and sportcoat

Samuel Rugambage joined us as Program Manager in March 2005 and was appointed Country Director in 2006. Before coming to our ministry, Samuel served in various leadership positions at the Baptist Union of Churches of Rwanda, the Protestant Counsel of Rwanda and the Protestant University of Butare.

Samuel holds a master’s of Education, a master’s of Theology, and a Ph.D. in Theology.

Implementing Church Partners

Implementing Church Partners are local churches in Rwanda with whom we work to deliver child development programs and frontline ministry in the field.

  • Spiritual Climate
    The spiritual climate in Rwanda is one of freedom. More than 93 percent of the population is Christian, and people are free to pray and evangelize throughout the country.
  • Unique Challenges
    One challenge is that English is not commonly used, which causes language barriers and the constant need for interpreters. Also, Implementing Church Partner staff are paid a relatively low salary, which causes many to seek other employment.
  • Contributions
    Implementing Church Partners provide the land where program activities take place as well as time and manpower for child development center activities.

    They also volunteer for projects such as house construction for Highly Vulnerable Children or providing relief in the case of disaster.

  • church building
  • Partner Development Activities
    We develop partners through education, training and Complementary Interventions support.

Child Survival Program

We recently started the Child Survival Program in Rwanda. The program is currently working in eastern, southern and northern Rwanda as well as in the capital city of Kigali.

Child Sponsorship Program

Your sponsorship of a child in Rwanda provides a variety of benefits.

Children are busy with school during the weekdays so they meet on Saturdays.

  • Meeting Times:
    • 3 to 5 year olds: 8 hours on Saturday
    • 6 to 8 year olds: 8 hours on Saturday
    • 9 to 11 year olds: 8 hours on Saturday
    • 12 to 14 year olds: 8 hours on Saturday
    • 15 to 18 year olds: 8 hours on Saturday
    • 19 +: 8 hours on Saturday
    children in a classroom
  • Nutritional Support
    The children are fed when they come to the center on Saturdays. They are given porridge in the morning before starting the first lesson and then a full meal for lunch, which typically consists of rice, posho (a common East African dish made with cornmeal) or Irish potatoes with beans and green vegetables. We provide this food in order to give them energy to participate in the program as well as to motivate them to attend.
  • Vaccinations
    Vaccinations are provided free of charge by the government according to the schedule set by the Ministry of Health.
  • Extracurricular Activities or Community Service
    Child development centers set aside time for sports and cultural/traditional dances for the children twice a month on Saturdays and more frequently during their school holidays.
  • Vocational Activities
    Adolescents participate in discussions about human development relevant to the teenage years, such as body changes, hygiene and emotional changes.

    They are also involved in Bible study, discipleship, and income-generating activities such as crocheting, tailoring and basket weaving.

  • children looking through a bag of gifts
  • Parent Involvement
    Parents meet for weekly prayer meetings and for monthly community service activities, such as house renovations for families who need our Highly Vulnerable Children program, center clean-up days, and working at the vegetable gardens at the centers.
  • Areas of Expansion for the Child Sponsorship Program>
    We plan to focus expansion on existing clusters throughout the country, especially where clusters are not complete.

Leadership Development Program

  • Universities Attended
    Our Leadership Development Program students attend government or public universities.
  • Location of Universities
    There are five universities total in Rwanda; three are in the capital city of Kigali and two are in other parts of the country.
  • Service Opportunities
    Students visit child development centers on Saturdays to participate in the activities and encourage the younger students.

    They also build at least four houses per year for vulnerable families near their universities and churches.

  • large group of smiling students
  • Leadership Development Program Meetings
    Our Leadership Development Program students meet twice a month to plan for and evaluate their service activities. They also participate in weekly Bible studies and fellowship together.
  • Specialty Curriculum Topics or Resources
    We discuss sexual purity and abstinence. We also do general health screenings, HIV tests and counseling.
  • Mentors
    We work with churches, Christian unions and other leadership associations that train and mentor the students. Potential mentors are invited to meet the Leadership Development Program students and to learn more about the program itself. We also encourage students who already have mentors to help other students find a mentor.

Complementary Interventions

Compassion’s core Child Sponsorship Program, while comprehensive, cannot address all obstacles to a child’s healthy development. Compassion’s Complementary Interventions program works in harmony with the holistic child development model to provide additional services as needed, such as the AIDS Initiative, Bibles for All Children, disaster relief and water projects.

In Rwanda we typically use Complementary Interventions for supplementary development activities that focus on child development, such as health, curriculum and Highly Vulnerable Children. We also use Complementary Interventions for program enhancement activities. This includes water supply, mosquito nets, income-generating activities, and infrastructure.

people in line to receive food baskets in a church

Highly Vulnerable Children

Primary Highly Vulnerable Children needs are food, clothing and shelter. We provide cottages, house renovations and food supplements. Highly Vulnerable Children funds also provide the means for beneficiaries to be self-supporting — mainly through income-generating activities.

14 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Dixie Parker May 13, 2015

    I’m so excited to be sponsoring ASIFIWE Jean Damour, he lives in Rawanda. I feel such a connection to him and his family, God has richly blessed me with this opportunity! I look forward to being a part of Asifiwe’s future and seeing how God uses him for the building of God’s kingdom. Asifiwe is a strong young man with a great future ahead of him!!

  2. Jaquelyn Scott December 26, 2012

    I sponsor a 7yr old girl, Niyikwizerwa Agape, in Rwanda. I have been sponsoring her since August 2012. She is a very special blessing to have 🙂 Merry CHRISTmas and a Blessed New Year to everyone!

    1. Jacquie Parella December 26, 2012

      Merry Christmas to you too Jacquelyn!

  3. Rose Williams March 31, 2012

    I sponsor a boy in Rwanda. He receives services from Kageyo Student Center. Does anyone know how I can learn more bout that Center?

  4. Angela Ecklund February 21, 2012

    I recently sponsored a teenage girl in Rwanda, thank you so much for meeting her needs and for this ministry highlight. Sending Blessings and Peace your way from Alaska!

  5. Christine February 12, 2012

    Ndamyumugabe and Samuel, praise God for both of you! I’m so encouraged as I read these comments! Thank you!

    1. Ndamyumugabe Jean Claude February 15, 2012

      Thank you, Christine, our heavenly father bless you.

      1. Josh March 28, 2012

        I sponsor a child near Bikoro. Bless everyone for being such an instrument of God!

  6. Trudie McGuinness February 11, 2012

    It’s wonderful to read about the Compassion’s work in Rwanda. I sponsor a Rwandan girl, and it’s really comforting to know that she is being cared for so through the programme and our prayers.

  7. Kathleen Caron February 10, 2012

    Samuel Rugambage is the most Godly humble man you could ever hope to meet. I was extremely blessed to meet him on a church engagement trip in 2008. He and his staff are quietly changing Rwanda one child at a time.

  8. Teresa February 10, 2012

    Thank you for sharing with us Ndamyumugabe Jean Claude! I’m glad to hear you are in university. I sponsor two in Rwanda and cherish the letters I receive from them. They bless me in so many ways! I love them like a mother from far away!

    1. Ndamyumugabe Jean Claude February 12, 2012

      Teresa, stay blessed, we Rwandans we appreciate your prayers and sponsorship.


  9. Ndamyumugabe Jean Claude February 10, 2012


  10. Ndamyumugabe Jean Claude February 10, 2012

    I’ m one of children sponsored in Rwanda since 1990 until 2004 after finishing secondary school, now I’ m universty student in ” Kigali Institute of Education in Level II Social sciences and Business studies. I thanked all sponsors for making change to Rwandan children’s life. May our heavenly father bless you.

    Ndamyumugabe Jean Claude

    Thank you

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