Creation of The Rwanda Community Partnership
A special relationship was established when Fulton Mayor, Charles Latham, and Callaway County Commissioners Lee Fritz, Gabe Craighead and Doc Kritzer invited Mayor Francois Niyotwagira of Kibungo, Rwanda, a town devastated by genocide, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and recent droughts, to become partner communities. Mayor Francois and his cabinet enthusiastically accepted the invitation on May 12, 2008 when a small delegation from Fulton/Callaway County visited the Mayor in Kibungo as part of a Westminster Projects for Peace grant. The journey to getting to this point and establishing this partnership was an interesting one!
Nancy McCue, Fulton native, spent nearly three years in the area of Rwanda known as Kibungo Town working with the Anglican Church as a volunteer director for HIV/AIDS educational outreach beginning in October 2005.
Fight for the Children
In the fall of 2007, Dr. Bob Hansen of Westminster College took a six week tour of East Africa as part of a research team for a non-profit organization called Humanity for the Children (formerly known as Fight for the Children). His goal during this trip was to research potential sights where the non-profit could establish a women and children's health clinic.
Read Bob's blog from his trip
Upon his return to Fulton, Bob learned of Nancy McCue's work in some of the same areas of Rwanda he had visited during his trip. From that moment, Bob had a vision, and knew that he had to connections, to bring Fulton and Callaway County together with Kibungo, Rwanda.
Pioneering Perpetual Partnerships for Peace
Bob gave several presentations about his experiences to Westminster and community groups. During a presentation to a group of students, he shared a story of a young Ugandan boy who did not recognize his own reflection - this resonnated with Scott Oldebeken. Scott teamed up with Westminster students Gina Campagna, Clayton Jordan and Samantha Richman and applied for a Davis Projects for Peace grant and were selected to put their P4 - Pioneering Perpetual Partnerships for Peace into action.
The students traveled with Bob back to Kibungo in the summer of 2008 to lay the groundwork for the Rwanda Community Partnership. They served as goodwill ambassadors for the Rwanda Community Partnership, conducted a community health needs assessment of the small villages surrounding Kibungo, and volunteered in the Kibungo area with the district hospital, the orphanage and schools.
Read the Callaway2Kibungo student blogs
Following their return, Bob and the students have been working with Westminster and community members, hosting a variety of events designed to help raise funds to build a much needed health clinic to serve the women and children of Kibungo and surrounding areas. See Event Highlights and Upcoming Events for more information.