My first introduction to Solid’Africa was back in March 2011 when I hosted the co-founder and President, Isabelle Kamariza on my radio show to talk about its inception and progress. That day I learned about Isabelle’s vision of bringing a group of dynamic young people together to work for the benefit of vulnerable patients in Public Hospitals in Kigali, and how she planned doing it. Back then Solid’Africa was just beginning its journey. Today Solid’Africa has registered more members and gained visibility as a charity based local organization. This has augmented its overall impact.
About 4 months ago I join Solid’Africa. Upon attending my first meeting, I learned in depth about its activities. I and a few other newcomers were introduced to Solid’Africa’s 4 major projects: Sukura – Hygiene, Kiza – Medical Expenses, Gombora – Payment of Hospital Bills and Transport, and Gemura – Food for all.
“Sukura” is about provision of clothing and personal hygiene products such as soap, toilet paper and sanitary pads. “Kiza” is geared towards the purchase of medicine for the most socio-economically challenged patients and special cases.
It also provides special care items such as crutches and wheelchairs. “Gombora” is about paying outstanding hospital bills, releasing ‘held-in’ cases, and providing transportation fees for those patients without means to return home. Whereas “Gemura-Food for all”, is the largest and most ambitious project.
In that meeting, I learned that many patients come from rural areas to Kigali to be treated for illnesses that they could otherwise never get treated in their lives.
I witnessed bad conditions under which many patients live due understaffed public hospitals. Most patients are poor beyond repair!
My affection went to Gemura—food for all. Food is necessary for survival, a basic need that not a soul could live without, whether sick or healthy. Food is unfortunately not provided for patients in public hospitals, neither by the establishment nor the “Mutuelle de Santé”. So, to address this issue, Solid’Africa has set up 5 different courses of action under the \”Gemura\” project to provide food and diet solutions for some of the most vulnerable patients in public hospitals, as per the schedule below:
• Create awareness of the existence of food shortage in public hospitals
• Solid’Mondays – Lunch is provided every Monday at CHUK for 300 patients
• Daily breakfast – Milk, porridge and bread (now sponsored by BDK) are distributed everyday at CHUK and Muhima Hospital for 160 people
• Follow up and catering for special diet patients (now with 40 liters of soup every day, supplemented by bread).
• The Gemura Kitchen – Building a public kitchen to provide two daily meals for 1000 patients in 4 public hospitals in Kigali (CHUK, as well as, Muhima, Masaka and Kibagabaga Hospitals). The Gasabo district has already secured for free a 3,120 square meters land in Rusororo for this project.
All activities are made possible through membership fees, donations, fund-raising events, and the sale of very trendy ‘Solid’Africa’ t-shirts. Thanks to very kind offers from private companies such as BDK (Boulangerie de Kigali – Icyanga) which donates 2% of their daily bread production to Solid’Africa, Rwanda Chick that gives more than 300 eggs per week and chicken, Minimex that gives maize flour for porridge and posho.
The building of the Gemura Kitchen has become Solid’Africa’s main focus.
The land, and as well as some construction material, have been very generously donated by sponsors. Solid’Africa has also held a grand Charity Gala Dinner to raise funds for the ambitious project. The event went well but we still have not reached our goal. This kitchen will be used as a base for all Gemura actions and will also help consolidate all efforts from different donors, volunteers, churches, sponsors and CSR programs into one common objective; providing support to vulnerable patients in public hospitals. The kitchen is projected to be complete and functioning by the end of 2012.
After becoming a member of Solid’Africa, these projects have become extremely important to me, it’s beautiful to see how far we have come but even more exciting to see how far we will go.
For more information on Solid’Africa and the building of ‘The Gemura Kitchen’ please visit our website (SolidAfrica.net) or like our Facebook page (facebook.com/solidafrica.ngo).