Foundation Rwanda

New York City

Nov 2, 2011
Outside Magazine

Jean-Paul, a Foundation Rwanda student and one of the estimated 20,000 children born of rapes committed during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.    Photo: Jonathan Torgovnik


Jean-Paul assembling a Kona Africa bike

Assembling bikes

Foundation Rwanda mothers assembling Kona Africa bikes to give to other Foundation Rwanda families in need

BY THE NUMBERS: More than 830 children of rape survivors have been educated through Foundation Rwanda sponsorships since 2008.
WHO'S IN CHARGE: Jules Shell, 34, a documentary filmmaker and former creative ­director at the Andrea and Charles Bronf­man Philanthropies
WHAT IT DOES: In 2006, while on assignment in Rwanda, Newsweek photo­journalist Jonathan Torgovnik met Margaret, a woman who had not only survived the 1994 Rwandan genocide and weathered multiple rapes but also contracted HIV, given birth to a child, and been marginalized by her community. ­Torgovnik later returned to ­produce a book of photographs and, with Shell, a film about the estimated 20,000 Rwandan children conceived through sexual assaults. They established Foundation Rwanda to pay for the ­children’s education and provide medical services and job training for their ­mothers. These days, the ­foundation spends about $283,000 ­annually on programs. Other initiatives include an oral-health project that offers checkups and dental products, and the Ladies of Abasangiye, a cooperative that trains women in business, ­English-language, and craft skills. (Upscale retailer Anthropologie recently began importing its handbags.)
EXTRA CREDIT: A triple play of tactics—smart use of media, solid tools, and sound business practices—boosts a marginalized but extremely deserving class of recipients.
LOOKING AHEAD: Foundation Rwanda has announced plans to launch, a program that raises money to buy a bike and a year’s schooling for Rwandan schoolkids.