Clergy and their parishioners are invited to “lunch and learns” during the week of June 10 to hear about work in Rwanda that is supported by the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF).
The speaker will be Antoinette (Toni) Habinshuti, the deputy executive director of Partners In Health Rwanda, an agency that seeks to improve health care in Rwanda’s rural areas, especially for women and children.
“Toni is a compelling speaker and she’ll have a lot of very interesting things to share” says Jeanine Cudmore, PWRDF’s development program coordinator. “It’s a good opportunity to learn about what’s happening in an area where PWRDF and Anglicans have invested a lot of resources.”
PWRDF supports Partners In Health Rwanda through its All Mothers and Children Count program, which seeks to reduce illness and death among women of reproductive age, newborns and children of both sexes under the age of five in rural villages in Burundi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania.
The diocese’s Our Faith-Our Hope campaign gave a $500,000 grant to the program in 2016. With grants from the Department of Global Affairs Canada and contributions from PWRDF, the total investment in the program is about $20 million. In Rwanda, funds are used to train health care providers, buy supplies and equipment, enhance medical facilities and provide educational programs on nutrition and family planning.
“It’s quite inspiring, especially when you look at the context people are living in, such as the distance they have to travel to health facilities,” says Ms. Cudmore, who liaises with Ms. Habinshuti and Partners in Health Rwanda and visits the programs in Africa about once a year.
She says the learn and learns with give participants a close-up look at the work in Rwanda. “It’s very good to learn first-hand from somebody who actually lives in the country, who can share her experiences and the transformation she’s seen through the project.”
PWRDF is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. It has received funding from FaithWorks, the diocese’s outreach appeal, since 1996.
“PWRDF is the principal way in which Canadian Anglicans serve the needs of the world,” says the Rev. Canon David Harrison, a member of PWRDF’s board of directors and the incumbent of St. Mary Magdalene, Toronto. “It does its work out of a Christian conviction for those in need, and it’s an organization we should be proud of.”
He encourages clergy to attend. “In our busy lives, we often go from one thing to the next, but we don’t always take the chance to pause and to learn something or to gather information. In a way I think this is a kind of gift to clergy, to say could you take a lunch hour and we’ll feed you and come and learn?”
For times and locations of the lunch and learns, visit the diocese’s website at www.toronto.anglican.ca or watch for the June issue of The Anglican.