In less than 2 years, Impanda has transformed from a dream to reality.
Building an organization from the ground up is a process and we have learned a lot along the way! Impanda continues to evolve as we are introduced to new opportunities and our vision is fine-tuned on our quest to empower at-risk youth in Rwanda.
In December 2016, co-founders Omy and Sam Karorero traveled to Rwanda to take the next big step for Impanda. During the trip, they were able to connect to kids in various communities, bring donations from our generous US sponsors directly to children in need, and work with government officials to develop relationship for future work.
what we accomplished
We started with backpacks. During the first trip back to Rwanda in January 2016, 20 Rwandan street kids in need received backpacks filled with basic survival necessities. Inspired by his first hand experience living on the streets of Rwanda after losing his family during the genocide, Omy found a backpack to be a way for him to carry his belongings with him, despite where he ended up each night. This was step one.
As a small startup non-profit, it is our intention to make big impact with small resources. In December 2016, during our second trip to Rwanda, we built on backpacks and gave 100 kids a years worth of health insurance. Health insurance costs $15/year for a child. This means being turned away from a clinic or receiving quality care when in need. In addition, we were able to take funds raised to give shoes and clothes to children in need in various villages around Rwanda. In the spirit of win win, we purchased the clothes and shoes from local markets as a way to support the local Rwandan economy.
During our trip, we visited several different communities and met with government officials within those communities. Our goal being to identify areas that would be a good fit to partner with as we continue to take steps towards a center.
We fell in love with an area called Rwesero and upon visiting the village several times, felt a deep connection for the people and a call to offer what we can in support of the village. We worked with the government officials to distribute the health insurance (over 500 people were still without, after our contribution) and visited the local school.
Our next step, is to work towards implementing programs within the local school. These programs, following our mission, will be to continue to distribute health insurance and necessities that meet basic human needs. Beyond that, we would like to partner with local Rwandans to create programs that focus on teaching basic education and skills. And then to have extracurricular programs that facilitate healing and empowerment through art and music.
We are in the process of working with a Rwandan based lawyer to help facilitate the INGO registration process.
Our ultimate vision for an outreach center is stronger than ever. The meaning of Impanda is calling. When a child's basic human needs are met, they are able to dream, contribute and create. When a child is seen, supported, and empowered to follow their own calling, a community becomes healthier, more colorful and thrives.