Why just helping might not be helpful

It is so exciting that the process of starting to build the first building was so easy and smooth. We got the permit to build within few days, than materials and workers were organized and faster than expected the building started to take shape. All the planning that was done in advance with Thierry, the architect was now put into action. So exciting!! Here are some impressions.


From the very beginning of Equip Magu it was our desire to involve the community of Magu into the process. It should not be us bringing a new building, better education, new opportunities. It should be a community work. We don‘t want to be the ones coming from Germany bringing all the financial ressources and ideas and then presenting and implementing them. We dont want to continue this way of „help“, that continues to create dependency and even worse nourishes the „poor-me-mentality“, the „give-me-my-money-mentality“, that already little kids have here.

But it is a challenge. Because for sure, we do have the ressources. And it is a fact that we were spending more than a month in Rwanda mainly to develop this project. And we feel the burden, the urge to do so. We

see again and again, how God opens doors, how we can walk in „prepared“ways. We also think that we in the western society have a resposibilty with all the ressources that we have, and after all it is us – the „mwuzungus“ who have done wrong in times of colonialism. The impact our ancestors had on this country is rather a bad one than a good one.

But how can we do it better? The right way? How can we handle these tensions, between cultures, societies, the gap between rich and poor? How can we establish this project in a new way, that not only improves the education in the village and helps the young generation in Magu to reach their full potential, but more

importantly changes the mindset about themselves, and to be honest, also changes our mindset and the one of our supporters? We all need the renewing of our minds!


We dont want to continue this way of „help“, that continues to create dependency.


The first thing is that we have a mulitcultural team, that represents rwandains as well as germans. We discuss things through and dont take decisions quickly if there is not a common agreement. Secondly, we are in touch with the community of Magu. We want their insights, their ideas, we want the advice of leaders and key persons of Magu. And we want their contribution. And this is the tricky part. Can we expect the community to help us for example in the building process by supplying us with water at the construction side? Water must be fetched from a well in a valley around 25 minutes away. They would have to get this water in addation to their own demand. This is not something small. We had a big discussion about this in our team. The thing is, if we dont start from the very beginning to involve them, and get their commitment, it will never be „their“ educational center. We would love to see a mindset like „We can do this together“, „Lets work together for the future of our children“, „Lets bring the ressources that we have, and do what

we can“, and “Lets build a strong community here, also by working hard together“, instead f „Let‘s see what they are building here for us.“

For sure, the main work of the building will be done by paid workers, but these are our thoughts and approaches to involve the community from the very beginning on. And we know that in Rwanda the benefit of the community, the wellbeing of the community and the next generation has a very high priority. So

we are very excited to see Equip Magu growing.

Dorrit Nsengiyumva

June 21, 2022


Work in Progress
Magu is ready!
Why just helping might not be helpful

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