As a fifteen-year-old boy in his native Rwanda, Frederic Ndabaramiye was dragged from a bus and brutally attacked by Interahamwe rebels. When he refused to kill 18 fellow passengers the rebels hacked off Frederic’s hands with machetes and left him for dead. After a year in hospital, Frederic was placed in Imbabazi, an orphanage started by American Roseamond Carr in the aftermath of the genocide. Most of Frederic’s family had been slaughtered and his mother, who remained alive, did not have the resources to care for him after he lost his hands.
In part owing to the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has a disproportionate number of physically and mentally disabled people. Most have no option but to live as street beggars.
This inspired Frederick to create a home for those people and teach them a new way to their can be independent. The Ubumwe Center is a place where adults with disabilities and their children are given an alternative; where they can be educated, learn skills, work and ultimately take control of their own lives.
The Ubumwe Center serves more than 200 children and adults with counseling, primary education, vocational training and workshop employment. The center provides a meal for its students, they are taught literacy, computer skills, the deaf learn sign language, and all are trained to make a variety of crafts including dolls, jewelry and souvenirs.
The center has now expanded to serve members of the non-disabled community, offering computer and literacy classes. Wildlife conservation is taught in cooperation with the Columbus Zoo.
The center survives on the generosity of individual donors who give through Jessie’s Place, co-founder Jessica McCall’s non-profit based in Los Angeles; Partners in Conservation at the Columbus Zoo, and the income derived from sales of its crafts. The goal is to become self-sustaining over time.
For more information and visit to Ubumwe Community Center, at Green Hills Ecotours we can organize a visit, stay and volunteering at Ubumwe Community while giving your contribution to making the difference.