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How a pandemic forced families to go to bed hungry

Janvier and Sandrine both lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 lockdown in Rwanda. With no income and their food running out, they began to skip meals to keep the children fed.

Trócaire helps families like Janvier and Sandrine’s who are in need of emergency support in Rwanda Trócaire helps families like Janvier and Sandrine’s who are in need of emergency support in Rwanda

“We started hating ourselves and our children were complaining to us about food,” says Janvier. “My wife and I felt no hope.” Thankfully, hope has returned again to the family now due to food supplies being provided by Trócaire’s local partner organisation, Kibungo Justice and Peace Commission (CDJP)

The family lives in Kirehe district in eastern Rwanda. Janvier and Sandrine have two girls, aged 10 and 7. Trócaire’s partner, Kibungo Justice and Peace Commission (CDJP), had supported the family before. When heavy rains collapsed the roof of their home, CDJP provided iron sheets to build a new house. However, hard times returned to the family since the arrival of Covid-19 in Rwanda. Janvier worked as waiter and Sandrine was a cook in a local bar. When the pandemic forced the closure of businesses, they both lost their only source of income. Without any income, they had to ration out their supplies – eating porridge at 10am and having nothing to eat again until the next morning. Some days they ate nothing at all, and eventually Janvier and Sandrine stopped eating completely, so that at least they could provide something for the children. “The little we could get was reserved for children and the two of us would sleep hungry,” said Janvier

Trócaire’s local partner Kibungo CDJP have provided emergency supplies to Janvier and Sandrine. The family has received maize flour, beans, soap and other non-food items. They can now feed themselves and their two daughters. They have also been informed about hand-washing and information about how to prevent the spread of the virus. “My family is very happy for these items we received, particularly for the food,” he said. “I thank Trócaire and CDJP Kibungo for the relief support they have given to me, and pray for whatever they do.”

The story of Janvier is not unique. Covid-19 led to millions of people working in insecure employment losing their jobs. Through the generous support from Irish Aid and the Irish people, Trócaire and our partners are supporting people around the world to survive this crisis. As well as providing food to people who have lost jobs or are in quarantine, we are also providing a range of other responses. This includes funding public health messaging, providing protective equipment for medics, supplying soap and hand-washing facilities, and the provision of medical isolation facilities for people reporting symptoms of the virus.

Irish Aid and Trócaire’s partnership

Trócaire’s partnership with Irish Aid delivers life-saving and life-changing programmes in some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world. Through Irish Aid, Ireland is rightly regarded as a global leader in development and the protection of human rights. With Irish Aid funding, 426,383 individuals were reached with support to mitigate the risks of Covid-19, including secondary impacts such as food insecurity and violence against women.


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