On International Women’s Day, one Rwandan lady is praising the Scottish Government after her life has been turned around by the creation of a simple tree nursery.
Mother of three, 38-year-old Theopiste Murekatete, was struggling to afford even basic food for her children after the death of her husband in 2001. Her life was a daily battle filled with anxiety.
But now through a grant from the Scottish Government, the Christian relief and development agency Tearfund established the first of a series of projects called, End Poverty One Village At A Time, bringing new jobs to Murekatete’s community.
'Now, the tree nursery has created a job for me,' explains Murekatete, 'I can afford to clothe my family, get a balanced diet and buy school materials for my children.'
Since September, Murekatete has been working hard to tend the nursery, carefully watering the seeds and watching them flourish into new plants. There are 220 households in Murekatete’s village. Today each one has at least 30 trees from the nursery.
Murekatete explains the difference this will make: 'The tree nursery is very good for the community because the trees provide fruit for families. We will also be able to sell fruit and make a living.'
Murakatete has been supported by a team of young British people, who have been working since January to tend the nursery and last Thursday 28th February helped distribute trees around Murakatet’s village.
They are part of the UK government funded International Citizen Service (ICS) which allows young people aged 18-25 to contribute to long-term projects in developing countries. On Thursday ICS team leader, 28-year-old Faith Dziruni explained: 'Today was really one of my best days in Rwanda. It reminded me why I do what I do.'
In January, Chris Reilly, the Development officer for the Scottish Government International Development team, visited the project and gave an outstanding report.
'The Tearfund project is playing a valuable role in helping people to grow the crops they need to feed themselves and their families as well as protecting the environment and helping them to achieve financial security. It is clear that the project is helping to change the lives of those in greatest need.'
To find out more about ICS go to www.tearfund.org/ics