Housing and health are intricately linked, and poor housing conditions have major negative impacts on human health. Examples of key housing-related risks include respiratory and cardiovascular diseases from indoor air pollution; communicable diseases spread because of poor living conditions; and risks of home injuries for both children and elderly people. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 2 million people in developing countries such as Rwanda die from indoor air pollution alone.
The scientific evidence on the links between housing and health has grown substantially in recent decades. This evidence can be used to guide measures related to housing construction, renovation, use and maintenance, which can promote better overall health (WHO). There is a clear need and opportunity for governments and nonprofit organizations to promote health by ensuring the right to adequate, affordable, environmentally sustainable housing for low income people.
Last week Gardens for Health International (GHI) teamed up with Global Health Corps (GHC) to address the need for adequate, sustainable housing for one vulnerable family in the Gashaki region of the Musanze District.
One of the mothers enrolled in the Gardens for Health program, Mrs. Nyirabagande Vestine, is a strong courageous lady with two children who has been struggling with harsh living conditions and lack of an appropriate shelter. Currently, the family stays in a house with mud floors, without a roof, and without access to basic infrastructure and services. It is also located in a high-risk area which is vulnerable to flooding during strong rains. GHI has been providing support to this family through the Turi Kumwe program (an employee-funded reserve of money to support families in the GHI program who have specific acute needs), but when Vestine’s house was further destroyed last fall, additional resources were needed to build a proper shelter.
Many GHI employees are alumni of the GHC fellowship program and they reached out the GHC alumni group in Kigali to create a partnership to support Vestine. The GHC alumni and the current cohort of GHC fellows in Rwanda joined, and raised $1,130 to support Vestine and her family and build a house. GHI and GHC then reached out to the local sector leaders to see if this project could be supported by the community during the monthly Umuganda.
Umuganda is a community work event, with the purpose of contributing to the overall national development. It was reintroduced to Rwandan life in 1998 as part of efforts to rebuild the country after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Today, it takes place on the last Saturday of each month from 8am to 11am. With support of the local sector government, and a generous in-kind donation of land from the sector, GHI and GHC organized a community-led initiative during Umuganda to build an affordable house for Vestine’s family in the Gashaki District in Musanze.
30 GHC alumni, current GHC fellows, and GHI staff joined approximately 110 community members on June 24th during the community Umuganda to build the foundation of Vestine’s house. Volunteers contributed to the building process by felling trees and carrying logs to the housing site, moving mud bricks to the house, clearing land around the house, and other building tasks. The home will continue to be built with community and sector support throughout the month, and GHI and GHC will be following up with the construction as needed.
In addition to the building activities, Umuganda served as a forum for alumni, fellows and staff to inform citizens about the importance of hygiene, good nutrition, and family planning to preventing malnutrition in Rwanda. Community members were also able to discuss any problems they or the community were facing in terms of affordable housing, nutrition and hygiene, and propose solutions to these challenges.
A huge thank you to all those in the Gardens for Health and Global Health Corps community who partnered to make this possible!
Donate to GHI today to allow us to help more families like Vestine’s!
Imiturire n’ubuzima bifitanye isano rya hafi kand’ imiturire mibi igira ingaruka k’ubuzima bw’ikiremwa muntu. Ingero z’ingaruka ziterwa no gutura nabi harimo indwara z’ubuhumekero n’umutima bitewe no guhumeka umwuka wanduye; gukwirakwizwa kw’indwara zandura bitewe n’imibereho mibi ndetse n’ibikomere by’abana n’abakuru m’urugo. Umuryango mpuzamahanga ushinzwe kubungabunga ubuzima kwisi (WHO) uvuga ko miliyoni zigera kuri ebyiri (2, 000,000) z’abantu batuye mu bihugu bikiri munzira y’amajyambere harimo n’urwanda bapfa kubera guhumeka umwuka wanduye.
Ibimenyetso by’ ubushakashatsi bwakozwe ku isano riri hagati y’imiturire n’ubuzima byakokomeje kwiyongera. Ibi bimenyetso byakwifashishwa hafatwa ingamba zigenga imyubakire, kuvugurura, gukoresha inzu no kuyisana byose bigamije kuzamura imibereho myiza (WHO). Hari ibikenewe bigaragara ndetse n’amahirwe kubigo bikorera leta n’ibitabogamiye kuri leta mu kuzamura ubuzima hashirwa imbere guha uburenganzira abantu binjiza amafaranga make kubona inzu zihagije kandi ziramba.
Mu cyumweru gishize, Umurima w’ubuzima (GHI) wishize hamwe n’umushinga witwa Global Health Corps (GHC) mu gufasha umuryango utishoboye wo mu gace ka Gashaki ho mukarere ka Musanze kubona inzu ihagije kandi izaramba.
Umwe mu babyeyi bitabiye muri gahunda z’umurima w’ubuzima (GHI), Madamu, Nyirabagende Vestine, n’umudamu ugira umuhati, afite abana babiri bahuye n’ubuzima bukomeye bwo kubura aho baba. Kur’ ubu, uyu muryango utuye munzu itagira sima hasi, idafite igisenge, kandi nta nubwo begereye ibikorwa remezo na servise zibanze. Batuye mu manegeka aho bashobora kwibasirwa n’ikibazo cy’umwuzure mu gihe cy’imvura nyinshi. Umurima w’ubuzima ukaba warafashije uyu muryango binyujijwe muri gahunda ya Turi Kumwe (Amafaranga azigamwa n’abakozi ba GHI agamije gufasha imiryango iri mukaga), ariko igihe inzu ya Vesitine yari yarasenyutse bikabije kuburyo yar’ikineye ibikoresho by’inyongera kugirango y’ubakirwe inzu imeze neza.
Abakozi benshi b’Umurima w’ubuzima bahoze ari abanya muryango muri gahunza zitandukanye za GHC bakaba barahuriye I Kigali n’itsinda rya GHC kugirango bihurize hamwe mu gikorwa cyo gufasha Vestine. Itsinda ryo muri GHC n’itsinda ririmo gukorana na GHC ubu mu Rwanda bihurije hamwe, bakusanya inkunga y’ amafaranga agana n’amadorari y’amarica igihumbi n’ijana na mirongo itatu ($1,130) yo gufasha Vestine n’umuryango we kugirango bamwubakire inzu. Umurima w’ubuzima na GHC baje guhurira k’umuyobozi w’umurenge kugirango barebe niba iki gikorwa cyaterwa inkunga n’abaturage mu gihe cy’umuganda rusange ngaruka kwezi.
Umuganda rusange n’igikorwa cy’abaturage kiba kigamije gutanga umusanzu mu kuzamura ubukungu bw’igihugu. Iki gikorwa cyagaruwe mu buzima bw’abanyarwanda mu mwaka wa 1998 hagamijwe kongera kwubaka igihu nyuma ya Genoside ya korewe Abatutsi mu mwaka wa 1994. Uyu munsi, umuganda ngaruka kwezi uba buri wa gatandatu wa nyuma y’ukwezi guhera isaa mbiri ukageza isaa tanu za mugitondo. Ku bw’ubufasha bw’inzego z’ibanze za leta m’ umurenge, n’imfashanyo y’ubutaka yatanzwe n’umurenge, Umurima w’ubuzima na GHC bateguye igikorwa gihuriza hamwe abaturage m’umuganda wo kwubakira inzu Vesitine utuye Gashaki ho mu karere ka Musanze.
Abanyamuryango 30 ba GHC, abakozi GHC irimo gikorana nabo ubu, n’abakozi b’Umurima w’ubuzima bihurije hamwe n’abaturage basaga ijana na cumi (110) mu gikorwa cy’umuganda wo kwubaka ifatizo/fondasiyo y’inzu ya Vestine. Abakorera bushake batanze umusanzu wabo mu gikorwa cyo kubaka batema kandi bikorera ibiti babizana aho inzu yari igiye kubakwa, basiza ikibanza inzu y’ubakwamo, n’izindi nshingano m’ubwubatsi. Inzu izakemeza kwubakwa n’abaturage kandi n’umurenge uzajya ubafasha buri kwezi. Umurima w’ubuzima na GHC bazakomeza gukurikirana aho ibikorwa by’ubwubatsi bigeze nkuko bisabwa.
Icyiyongera ku gikorwa cyo kubaka, Umuganda wagize uruhare runini mu guhuriza hamwe abanyamuryango n’abakozi bigisha abaturage akamaro ko kugira isuku, imirire myiza no kuboneza urubyaro mu rwego rwo kurwanya ikibazo cy’imirire mibi mu Rwanda. Abaturage nabo bari barimo kuganira kubibazo bitandukanye bahura na byo cyane cyane ku bijyanye n’amazu, imirire n’isuku, n’ibisubizo by’imbogamizi bahura nazo.
Amashimwe menshi kuri buri umwe wese wo m’Umurima w’ubuzima na Global Health Corps bishize hamwe kugira ngo ibi byose bigerweho.
Tanga imfashanyo yawe kuri GHI none kugirango dushobore gufasha imiryango nk’iya Vestine!