News & Views


blog: Improving lives in rural Rwanda

Author: Ruby Stringer

Improving the way the world moves is the main reason ITP exists and following the success of our last fundraising effort, we are embarking on our next charity challenge to help transform the lives of people in rural Rwanda.

Why this project?

Through discussions with transaid colleagues about the transformational projects they deliver, I became inspired by the incredible work they are doing to reduce maternal mortality in rural parts of the world.  By delivering cycle and motorcycle ambulances, and appropriate training, they are able to help vulnerable people with quicker and safer access to medical help. 

I was instantly able to relate to this, as I have a friend who has been working with a tiny rural medical centre in Rwanda for several years to set up a physiotherapy centre (ASFA). Over the time she’s been working there various problems have come to the fore, with a major one being transport.  The medical centre she works at has a catchment population of 300,000 people and, on average, patients travel more than 15km to access care.

With few formal transport services, banana stretchers are the main way for low-income, non-mobile adults to access the center, with children frequently carried for up to 20km.  If people are lucky enough to have access to a motorbike, this might mean a bumpy (and dangerous!) 10-20km ride to the centre for disabled people, children, and even women in labour.

Neither of these options are ideal for the patient, or for the people helping them get to the medical centre. This 75 year old lady was carried by her four sons to get medical attention at the centre. She had fractured her hip and was suffering from one leg being significantly longer than the other.  Coupled with concern for her injuries, her sons were anxious about how soon she might return to work as a cultivator in order to support the family's income. 

Rwanda 2
How can we help?

At our quarterly team meeting in June, we agreed that ITP will fundraise to buy a motorcycle ambulance for the sisters of the medical centre in Rwanda. The benefits of this will be wide-ranging for both the sisters and their patients.

Although the ambulance is designed for emergency transportation, it will also enable the sisters to take supplies to remote villages more easily. Last year this included a huge shipment of ex-NHS equipment; including crutches, boots, and other physio supplies to help rehabilitate patients.

Where do we go from here?

We’re setting up a fundraising committee within ITP to help co-ordinate our efforts.  Once we reach our target we intend to work with colleagues at transaid to help them buy a motorcycle ambulance, and implement a plan for it's successful delivery and ongoing maintenance.

All of this will require collaboration with the medical centre, and ASFA, to make sure it works for them. We’re confident that, once operational, it will really help to improve the work both the physio centre and the medical centre are doing and, hopefully, help us to make some new friends in Rwanda.

We'll be sharing more details about our fundraising challenges over the next few months, to identify how you can help us achieve our sponsorship goal and improve lives of thousands of people in rural Rwanda.


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