Small & Big

Small contributions make a big and lasting difference to people like Vianny, who has been able to set up his taxi-bike business, thanks to the UK’s Good Gifts Catalogue, an initiative of the Charities Advisory Trust. Good Gifts has enabled Survivors Fund (SURF) to extend support to thousands of Rwandan widows and orphans in recent years, with a range of life-changing gifts. Here are the stories of just a few who can attest to the big impact of small contributions.


Vianny lives with his 71-year-old mother. He survived the genocide but did not have the chance to attend school. He lives in Kabuga, an area known for growing vegetables. In order to earn a living and to support his old mother, he buys vegetables from the local people and sells then at one of the Kigali markets. His biggest challenge is transporting the stuff to the market. With support from SURF and Good Gifts he is one of 15 young people who received bicycles to use as a taxi bicycle or carry foodstuffs to the market. Before this he used to spend about 800FRw (£8) per day on transport. Now that he has a bicycle he will be able to save the money and better support himself and his aged mother.

Claudine lives in Bugesera district, She received a bull, who has been affectionately named “Sid”. In her village a good number of poor people were given cows under the government ‘one cow per family programme’. However it is not easy for the people to pay for artificial insemination whenever they need it for their cows.   As a result they have to walk long distances to look for a bull to mate with their cows. People who bring their cows for breeding pay a fee of 5,000 Frw (£5). On average she earns about 15,000 Frw (£15) per month, after paying for the feed, vaccines and the casual labourer who takes care of the bull. She will keep Sid for two years after which she will sell the bull and buy another one.

Maniraguha grows beans in her village and is known as the “Bean Woman” – because she grows a special type of bean that she sells in the local market. The beans earn her more money than the local type. She sells at 600Frw (60p) per kilo while the local beans go for 500Frw per kilo. Her beans are bigger and cook faster as well being ideal for making thick soup. With support from SURF and Good Gifts she was able to expand her garden and will have a bigger harvest this season with a new crop in July. The special seed provided to her will increase her earnings from 180,000 Frw (£180) in one season to 220,000Frw (£220) a difference of 40,000Frw (£40) in her income.


Munyana is 83 years old and she has 5 grandchildren who were left in her care after her son was killed 3 years ago – allegedly by relatives of genocide perpetrators who wanted to destroy evidence in a case where he was a witness. According to reports, one night the killers attacked their house coming through the bedroom window and they shot him and his wife to death leaving their 5 children alone. The 83-year-old grandmother is struggling to raise these children. Through support from Good Gifts we have provided clogs as well as financial support and foodstuffs to support in some small way this difficult family situation.


If you would like to know more about the impact of the Good Gifts Catalogue and the Charities Advisory Trust working with SURF in Rwanda, you can see some great videos illustrating just how Good Gifts are being used by vulnerable survivors: Solar Cookers, Water purifiers, Magic Chickens, and the Power of Donkeys. By donating to Good Gifts  your small gift will change lives – please give here.

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