Rwanda is a mountainous country in the eastern part of central Africa. It is Africa’s most densely populated country. In 1959, three years before the country gained its independence from Belgium, conflicts between ethnic groups began.

The conflicts lasted for years and resulted in thousands of deaths, and hundreds of thousands were forced into exile in neighboring countries. The conflict culminated in April 1994 in a genocide in which up to a million people were killed.

The genocide left the health care system, the school system and the economy in ruins. In 2015, the country experienced a growth of almost seven percent, according to the World Bank, but over half of the population lives on less than two euro a day.

This means that Rwanda must make an effort if it is to live up to the new World Goal 1 on eradicating poverty. 90 percent of the population lives on agriculture, which for many is not much bigger than a kitchen garden, and Rwanda also earns little from tourism, minerals, coffee and tea, but the country has to import food.

Children in Rwanda

The children are suffering from poverty, illness and poor education. This means that only 40 percent of all children complete what is equivalent to schooling.
Rwanda has adopted a visionary policy to ensure compulsory and free education for all children and young people for 12 years. Today, only 15 percent of all children complete the intermediate and superstructure. Many do not pass the exam after schooling and thus cannot continue their education.

In addition, children, and especially girls whose parents are ill with, for example, AIDS, are often taken out of school to look after their parents or to make money for the family. In families where both parents have died of AIDS, the eldest of the siblings must take care of its younger siblings. Therefore, there is a long way to go to achieve World Goal 4 on quality education for all.

Compared to other countries in eastern and southern Africa, relatively few people with HIV and AIDS live in Rwanda, but although Rwanda is making an effort to provide treatment for all, the country still suffers from the destruction of the health care system during the genocide, and lacks trained staff.

Gikongoro Primary School has for many years been recognized as the best school in the region. All teachers teach in English, and the school has introduced improved education in social studies. All students receive computer tuition, and students with needs participate in extra tuition.

Facts about children

  • 41 percent of Rwanda’s population is under 14 years of age.
  • There were 500,000 orphans in 2014.
  • In 2014, 85,000 children had lost one or both parents to AIDS.
  • Almost 42 children out of 1,000 die before they turn 5 years old.
  • About 40 percent of all children complete schooling. 15 percent complete the intermediate stage and schooling.
  • 9.3 percent of all children are malnourished, and nearly 38 percent of all children do not develop as they should due to malnutrition.
  • Fewer than one in three children under the age of 5 are treated for dehydration if they have diarrhea.

Country facts

  • There are almost 11.6 million people living in Rwanda.
  • A rwander earns an average of 630 euro a year or about 1,75 euro a day.
  • 2.8 percent of all Rwandans between the ages of 15 and 49 live with HIV or AIDS.
  • For every 100,000 children born, 290 Rwandan women die from complications.
  • The birth rate is 32 live births per 1,000 rwands a year.
  • A Rwandan woman can expect to live for 66 years and a man for 61 years.
  • Just over 60 percent of the population lives below the $ 1.90 poverty line per day.

Village communities in Rwanda

Support MY FOUNDATION's work in Rwanda, or become a partner in a project or a village community in the country.