Good Gifts

SURF Chief Executive, Samuel Munderere, with winners of the storywriting competition launched with the Good Gifts Mobile Library
SURF Chief Executive, Samuel Munderere, with winners of the storywriting competition launched with the Good Gifts Mobile Library

Continuing our series of articles from our Annual Report 2022/23, we outline here our work on our Good Gifts Initiative.

Through funding from the Good Gifts Catalogue, an initiative of the Charities Advisory Trust, we have extended our support to thousands of widows and orphans that are beneficiaries of our ongoing livelihoods program, enabling them to become more independent and self-sufficient.

Survivors Fund (SURF) aims to alleviate the impact of poverty on vulnerable survivors by strengthening their families to secure viable livelihoods.  The funding from Good Gifts helps to set up income generating projects which empower communities to fight poverty and take more active role in determining their lives.

Many survivors have been supported, receiving livestock, agricultural materials, solar lights and cookers, meals for schoolchildren and much more.  The support from Good Gifts has played a significant role in enabling us to empower vulnerable survivors and their dependents. The livelihoods programme has helped beneficiaries to improve their lives. For example, those that have received solar lights and clean cookstoves are making savings for their households as they are no longer spending on kerosene, as well as saving time used to collect firewood. For that support they, and we, are greatly appreciative.

Amongst the gifts we have donated this year are:

Clean Water for Children

The lack of access to clean water is one of the principal causes of poverty and inequality in many developing countries due to the harmful and fatal implications for health. Bugesera district in the Eastern Province of Rwanda is one of the districts that face the challenges of access to clean water in villages and schools.

Through the support of Good Gifts, we have provided two water tanks to the Cyugaro Primary School to help students get water that is treated and used for drinking as well as for preparing school meals without having the children go to collect water from the borehole which is far from their school, and likely to have contaminated water.

The Headteacher of Cyugaro Primary school commented: “We are very happy for the support of Good Gifts to buy and install these water tanks. As you know, most of the government schools have a feeding program which requires preparing food for students to eat at midday. We used to face challenges of getting water and this has impacted the time available for teaching, as well as the health of our students. Children used to go fetch water, and sometimes they would bring dirty water which might cause different problems including diseases. But now, since we have received these water tanks, we are no longer faces such problems. Children are eating on time and teachers prepare their lessons without pressure”.

University Support

Through the support of Good Gifts, Carine Ishimwe, who is aged 22, has been accepted and enrolled in a university undergraduate course, studying Public Health at the University of Mount Kenya, Kigali campus.

Public health covers a range of fields, everything from fighting outbreaks of infectious diseases across the globe to developing and presenting wellness programs in local communities. Helping Carine to access a higher education programme in public health will help her attain her dream of becoming a health worker.

Carine comments: “Since my childhood, I have aspired to work in the health sector, but after my high school, I could not get the chance as I did not have good enough grades to be awarded a scholarship from the Government of Rwanda. I thought that the opportunity to fulfill my dream ended there. But I thank Survivors Fund (SURF) for helping me to pursue my studies in public health and take me a step closer to realizing my dream of becoming a health worker. I am almost finished my studies. This is my final year and I believe after school I will be able to help people in communities by helping in epidemic prevention, as well as improving nutrition, health and well-being.”

Public health also prepares professionals who can teach vulnerable communities and the general public how to better care for themselves. It promotes better living habits like exercise and regular medical visits. 

Mobile Library

The mobile library brings resources outside of the library’s fixed location to users who otherwise may not get a chance to benefit from them. It also effectively extends the reach of the library’s safe learning and social development areas. 

After a successful mobile library pilot, Good Gifts helped Survivors Fund (SURF) complete another milestone, where a new mobile library was introduced to the refugee camps in Rwanda. SURF is partnering with Impact Hope, a non-profit empowering refugee youth, by educating them into self-sufficiency at safe boarding schools. This mobile library is serving the young children from the refugee camp by promoting reading during school and after school.

The Director of Impact Hope commented: “I thank God for this good and impactful partnership between Survivors Fund (SURF) and Impact Hope to promote reading in different schools of the refugee camp. As you know, the young children here are not able to access different books for reading. But this library will serve as an answer to problems we have to provide a quality education. This library will serve more than 10 schools during both the school term time, and holidays, where children will borrow books for reading and return them. It will also improve the culture for reading and enable young people to make the most of their time at both school and during the holidays”.

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