Rwanda is a small, land-locked country in eastern central Africa. Located just two degrees south of the equator, the climate is temperate/sub-tropical with alternating rainy and sunny seasons, though due to the high elevation, the temperature typically remains between 65°F-85°F. Rwanda is about 10,170 square miles, which for comparison, it is slightly smaller than the state of Massachusetts. Though with a population of 11.8 million, it is the most densely population country on the African continent. The average age in Rwanda is just under 19, nearly 20 years younger than the average age in the United States (largely due to the 1994 genocide and preceding civil war). Rwanda has made vast economic strides in the past two decades, and aims to be a middle-income country by 2020. It is one of only two countries in the world where women hold more than seats in parliament than men. Rwanda is bordered by Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south, and the Democratic Republic of Congo – formally Zaire – to the west (along with Lake Kivu). The official languages of Rwanda are Kinyarwanda, French, and English.
The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV)
The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is a residential community in the Rwamagana district of Rwanda. The 144 acres of the village are home to 500 vulnerable Rwandan youth. The mission of ASYV is “to enable orphaned and vulnerable youth to realize their maximum potential by providing them with a safe and secure living environment, health care, education and necessary life skills. Education and service are used to model and create socially responsible citizens in Rwanda and around the world.” Agahozo is a Kinyarwanda word meaning “a place where tears are dried” and Shalom is the Hebrew word for peace. The motto at the village is: “If you see far, you will go far.” For more information on ASYV visit www.asyv.org. Also check out ASYV’s 2013 annual report.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (The JDC)
The JDC is the world’s largest Jewish humanitarian aid organization. Established 100 years ago in 1914, the JDC works to support the world’s most vulnerable Jews as well as the broader global community in response to global emergencies and humanitarian needs. Today the JDC works in over 70 countries across the globe. For more information on The JDC, visit www.jdc.org
Entwine Global Jewish Service Corps Fellowship (JSC)
The JSC is a year-long fellowship that places young professionals in paid volunteer positions abroad to support the work of the JDC. This year, 26 young people from 4 different countries are working in 14 different countries in positions that respond to global Jewish and humanitarian needs. For more information on the Global Jewish Service Corps, visit www.jdcentwine.org/jsc
Note: Organizational descriptions are based off of information from the listed links