Patron: The Rt. Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool.
There is a common misconception in some countries that African people are both lazy and corrupt. That is not our experience in Rwanda. We have found the Rwandese people to be both honest and hardworking. Our chairman has been to Rwanda eleven times in twelve years and tells us that he have never encountered any suggestion of bribary or other forms of corruption.
The people of Shyira are quite skilled. They have people able to work in various building trades, tailoring, welding and even have a technical school so that those skills can be passed on to young people. They have renovated a primary school, built a maternity hospital and hospice, are building a children's centre and much more. On occasion they have required expert help as with the design of trusses for the large span of the hospice roof. They are gifted and capable people.
The role of the Trust in Shyira projects.
Our role is, we believe, to support the people of Shyira and to empower them to take responsibility for their own lives and community. We are prepared to undertake training work with them, but not to do any kind of work they are able to do themselves.
The major problem in Shyira is that people lack the resources to undertake work for themselves. Our role has been to provide those resources enabling the people to buy materials and to be paid for using their skills. If people are paid they spend money locally and that helps the whole community.
Midwifery is one area where we have helped with training. There is the obvious way of doing this through provision of scholarships to enable people to study for midwifery qualifications, and that has worked well. Also we have had midwives from the UK provide on-the-job training for people in Shyira.
An example of help we gave. It was noticed that all timber products in and around Shyira had rectangular sections throughout. For that reason we helped the people build a treadle operated lathe, also known as a pole lathe, and trained one person in its use. That is work initiated by us, and has enabled Shyira people to make circular section parts for chairs, etc. The Picture shows one of our supporters who taught the manufacture and use of the lathe in Shyira, and a technical school student learning how to use it.
How do we select projects to support?
The short answer is we don't! The people of Shyira know what their needs are far better than we do, and they tell us what needs to be done. We have some basic rules that may be summarised by saying that we wish to support sustainable development of the community and not to give help to individuals.
Education, health, coffee growing and the welfare of young people all contribute to the future of the community and are something we are prepared to support.