A GRANDMOTHER from Stratford is heading to Rwanda to help aid the survival of mothers with HIV.
Ros Grant, the chair of charity Compassion Direct UK, is set to to go to the East African country for three months to rescue a life-saving project after the sudden death of its leader.
The move to build and equip a sewing workshop in the village of Gatsibo was set to be managed by church leader Bishop Enock who died from cancer.
It is one of three projects the bishop was involved with before his final days, including installing water harvesting tanks at the village’s church school and sinking a well.
Some 70 women in the village suffer with HIV – a legacy of the 1994 genocide.
The village church hosts a school where more than 150 children receive a daily meal – often all they have to eat in a week.
Some 60 pupils attend for free since they are either orphans or have mothers with HIV struggling to find work due to prejudice, fear and ignorance.
And although the Rwandan government provides free medication to people with HIV, it must be taken with food or it is too aggressive to tolerate. And for those in food poverty, this can result in children being orphaned.
Ros explained: “A pastor at the church formed an HIV support group and when I visited, the women told me their stories. They said there were many more women who could not attend because they were too ill and nor could their children go to the school as they had no clothes and were ashamed.
“They said, those that had work on the land tried to help the others and that some of them saved a tiny amount each week. I asked them what they were saving for and said coffins so that they could be decently buried. This is their immediate future without food or work, so they know that if they go hungry, they will die very soon. This is their shared fate.”
The team is running a crowd funder in memory of the bishop to complete the project in his name.
Ros added: “When we raise the money I will go out to the village for three months to work with the other pastors to make sure the project is completed & running as we had agreed before Enock died.
“We do this in memory of him & for all those who loved and respected him and to continue his work.”
Visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/bishop-enock-memorial-fund—rwanda to donate to the project.