Caritas Rwanda’s mission to assist those in need and to promote integral development calls for not remaining indifferent to the needs of others. Through the generous financial assistance of Caritas Slovenia and technical support of Damahaus Prestige Company, Caritas Rwanda erected a three-bedroom house for the family of Habamenshi Jean-Paul and his wife Muyavuge Munyurwa Alphonsine from Gashari sector of Karongi district. The family was identified by the sector authorities and proposed to Caritas Rwanda due to its dire need for healthy and decent housing.
Jean Paul’s family house was made of substandard adobe bricks and leaky clay tiles. During the rainy season, it was hard for both parents and their three children. “My family survives on piecework. But before we were provided with a new house, we could not concentrate on our work, every time it rained, we had to stop work and hastily run home to check if the house had not collapsed”, said Jean Paul.
This is no longer the case as this family’s new house was built using compressed soil bricks made by one of the five machines Caritas Rwanda received from Damahaus Prestige Company through the project ‘Ngira Nkugire’ which was implemented by Caritas Nyundo/Kibuye for the service of the poor people in two sectors, Gashari and Mutuntu of the Korongi district. Such bricks are made from locally available materials, their designs provide excellent ventilation, and are cost-effective when it comes to building quality affordable, and energy-efficient houses.
The construction of this house started on the 1st of September 2023, behind schedule due to COVID-19, under the surveillance of Mr Stirn Marco, from Damahaus Prestige Company, and was handed over to its owners in a colourful ceremony held on the 23rd of January 2023. Invited were the executive secretary of the Gashari sector Mrs NIYIGENA Claudette Afsa, the parish priest of Birambo parish Fr NIZEYIMANA Jean de la Croix, the Caritas Nyundo/Kibuye team composed of the project field officers and the coordinator of the development department and the project focal point Jana Lampe and Mr Marco who followed it virtually.
The construction of this house employed not only the project’s beneficiaries but also its owner from the early stage of making bricks and levelling the construction site to helping the masons with the construction. The construction was also a learning opportunity, it was their first time experimenting with the construction of interlocking soil bricks. They were also skilled in making those soil bricks by the project field officers who had been trained by the Damahaus Prestige Company in Slovenia.
As it is said in Kinyarwanda, ‘Inzu ni icyo uyiririyemo’ (the house value is what it contains), in addition to the house with a sanitary and kitchen block, the beneficiary family was provided with housing facilities such as chairs, tables, kitchen utensils with groceries, cleaning supplies and mattresses in the perspective that this family, by living comfortably, will be able to concentrate on its daily work and hopefully meet its needs. Apart from family stability, the new house opened the door to improved health and academic performance for children. Together with Jean Paul’s family, Caritas Rwanda reiterates its thanks to the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Caritas Slovenia, the driving force behind this achievement, for their frank and close collaboration.
Without ever wanting to create dependency, Caritas Rwanda continues touching vulnerable people’s lives. May this same desire to be men and women for others be our daily prayer. The house built for Jean Paul’s family is just one step. There is still a long way to go, but we are sure that the Damahaus’ gesture has opened new horizons for them and that the resilience and humaneness they have acquired from Caritas Rwanda and Caritas Slovenia will carry them far!