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Case Study: Felicien, Rwanda

Livelihood Development Training: Hope In Hospitality

World Jewish Relief began work in Eastern Rwanda in 2000 in recognition of the shared history of genocide between the Jewish community and the Rwandan people. Guided by the Jewish notion of Tikkun Olam, healing the world, World Jewish Relief reaches beyond its community at times of major disaster and in contexts that resonate with our own Jewish experience of genocide.

There is an incredibly emotive and tragic shared history of persecution between the Jewish community and the Rwandan people. Just like the Jews of Nazi-occupied Europe, Tutsi people experienced pogroms and discrimination at work, in educational institutions and on the streets.

The legacy of the genocide still permeates the everyday of individuals, and poverty remains widespread. Almost 38% live below the poverty line in Eastern Province (where World Jewish Relief works) and despite considerable national economic growth, employment opportunities for the growing young population remain wholly insufficient. World Jewish Relief aims to tackle poverty at its root. We have developed a holistic training programme enabling young Rwandan people, aged 18-35, to escape poverty and improve their lives. This long-term programme includes two tracks (vocational and agricultural) to economically and sustainably empower disadvantaged young people in rural and peri-urban settings. Last year, World Jewish Relief were able to provide 5,903 vulnerable people around the world with employment support.

 

Felicien lives in Rwanda, where he cares for his parents and siblings. He was helped into work by World Jewish Relief and our partners SACCA.

One person we have been able to help is Felicien who works at the Silent Hill hotel in Kayonza. He completed secondary school and attended university which is quite unusual for people from his area. Whilst on the surface this is positive, he found that upon graduation there were no jobs available in his area of expertise. This struggle to find employment was commonly shared amongst his university friends.

He joined the Streets Ahead Children’s Centre (SACCA) training programme where he completed the programme, taking part in various modules including hospitality and account savings. He was then offered a placement at the Silent Hill hotel. After two months of interning, the staff were so impressed with his work ethic and skills, they offered him a permanent paid position at the hotel. So far, during his time at Silent Hill Hotel, he has been able to draw upon his critical thinking skills developed at university to be a valued and innovative member of the team and seems to be rising fast at the hotel. Felicien can now support his family (his father is unable to work due to ill health) and provide them with a better life. He was really thankful for the opportunity SACCA gave him and felt that it offered him a way to avoid a ‘bad’ life. He spoke glowingly about the training he received and was clearly grateful for what the programme was able to offer him.