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Rwanda: Tragedy and Hope: Climate and Education News from Nyarubuye, Rwanda

Rwanda is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, which is bringing stronger floods and mudslides and drier dry seasons. In September, heavy storms severely damaged buildings and crops in Eastern Rwanda, killing four people in Nyarubuye, including the eleven-year-old daughter of Charlotte Mutateli.

Charlotte led a team of grassroots leaders, who, with guidance from Faith in Action Rwanda leaders in other communities, managed to bring a new health clinic and school to the Nyarubuye over the past three years. The storm damaged the new school, which was nonetheless able to be opened in October, serving 55 young people who can now receive better education closer to home.

As leaders mourned the loss of Charlotte’s daughter and the other victims and celebrated the opening of the school, they understand that they need to do more to respond to climate change. Grassroots leaders in Nyarubuye and other communities are working together to understand better what can be done locally and nationally to help make structures, communities, and agriculture more resilient to extreme weather. They’ve already planted more than 55,000 trees as part of reforestation efforts. They know that responding to climate change will require an immense effort that includes all Rwandans. As Pope Francis says in his new Laudate Deum, joining forces to respond to climate change is spiritual work in praise of God and creation that requires more from all of us.

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