Thanks to donations from guests who have visited Wilderness Bisate and Sabyinyo and the Gishwati area, Wilderness and Children in the Wilderness Rwanda have been able to assist 767 households in 46 villages in the Gishwati and Kinigi areas with their annual Mutuelle premium.
In Rwanda, ‘Mutuelle’ refers to Mutuelle de Santé, a community-based health insurance. It is a medical scheme especially developed to cover medical costs for poor families and vulnerable groups. A premium is paid once a year at the end of June to ensure medical health care for people who are not covered via an employer or private scheme. Although the per-person fee for this community-based health care is not high, for the most disadvantaged people in Rwandan society, it is still too expensive to provide cover for their families.
Together with community leaders, the families in need were selected, and the payments for their Mutuelle organised. The leaders of the Nyarusuku, Nteko, Kinihira, Rwambeho and Ngunguru villages in Kigeyo and Mushonyi sectors in the Gishwati area provided a list of the households and their families most in need – some 145 households consisting of 603 families – and they received health insurance worth USD2,000.
Several dignitaries and community leaders attended the handover, as did the Community Warden of the Rwanda Development Board, Norbert Karegire. Many speeches and heartfelt thank-yous were exchanged, as the positive impact on the daily lives of the villagers is huge.
“Please let us all be together in protecting Gishwati and the natural resources in our area. If more guests of Wilderness can enjoy our beautiful area, we will all benefit from the sustainable tourism this brings. We can already notice the difference and the support of Wilderness today and hope to continue and grow our impact in the communities in the future”, noted Norbert.
The leaders of the Kaguhu, Nyabigoma, Bisoke, Kampanga and Nyonirima cells situated in the Kinigi Sector – the gateway to Volcanoes National Park – provided a list of 622 households most in need, and 2,738 people from 41 villages received the Mutuelle. The value of the donations from our Wilderness Bisate and Sabyinyo guests amounts to more than USD8,500.
This large-scale assistance to the Kinigi Sector was organised under the supervision of Innocent Twagirimana, Executive Secretary of the Kinigi Sector, Mithali Narcisse, Representative of the Kinigi Sector, Clementine Ingabire, in charge of Health and Hygiene in the Kinigi Sector and our own Aline Umutoni, CITW and Community Co-ordinator for Wilderness Rwanda.
Several speeches, thank-you songs, hugs and celebrations marked the highlights of the event, during which Mithali said, “There is only one company in Tourism in Rwanda that does what Wilderness has shown us multiple times. The support of Wilderness for the communities is remarkable, and the far-reaching impact is felt by many”.
In conclusion, Ingrid Baas, Wilderness Rwanda Operations Manager added, “I would like to thank our donors and our guests, some of whom have supported several of our projects over the last years. Others have visited our lodges more recently and decided to contribute. To witness people in the community receiving their Mutuelle proof of payment for all their family members, and either dancing or tearing up from happiness, is so rewarding. It reminds us once again of why we do what we do”.
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