It was almost 10:00 PM and I was surprised to see Alan calling me. He must have forgot what time zone I am in, I thought to myself as I answered the phone. Alan is the Director of Africa New Life Ministries in Rwanda. He quickly got to the point of the call, “Can we give away the food that you just shipped to us?” he asked. This was in 2013 and Africa New Life was a relatively new partner to Numana and we had recently shipped them a full container of food. These containers hold 285,120 meals in them and shipping to Rwanda takes months to arrive and lots of money to get it there. This was not a request to take lightly.
Alan explained that because of tensions between Tanzania and Rwanda, all of the Rwandans who lived in Tanzania (many of them fled there in the 90’s due to the genocide) were being taken from their homes and placed into refugee camps in Rwanda. One camp, in Kirehe, had thousands of mostly women and children who had been taken from their communities, homes, and sometimes even seperated from their families. Alan went on to express the need for food in the camp. There were food resources headed there, but in the meantime, there was nothing. The shipping container had just arrived at Africa New Life, intended for their schools in villages throughout the country. He knew that even if we sent another container of food out immediately, it would be months before they received it, but this was urgent.
Africa New Life used the container full of food to help the people in the refugee camp. Soon after, more food and resources arrived. About a month later, I had the opportunity to visit the camp in Kirehe. Rwandans were still being brought in from Tanzania by the truckload, but in the camp, there were glimmers of hope. Africa New Life set up a large tent and brought in several teachers from their schools who were teaching the students every day. They made education a priority, even in these conditions. Food, medical services, and basic necessities were being distributed as the Rwandan government worked to re-connect families and re-establish these lives in a new country.
In the past eight years, you have helped Numana fund and pack food for refugees all over the world; Syrian refugees housed in camps in Greece, families suffering in the Dadaab Refugee Camp in the Horn of Africa, and these beautiful children in the pictures taken at the Kirehe camp in Rwanda. Especially today, on World Refugee Day, we say thank you for allowing us to serve refugees.
Please consider making a donation so that Numana can continue serving those who cannot give anything in return.