We were shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Caroline Flack. She came to visit our programme in Rwanda as a Sport Relief Ambassador in 2014 and showed immense warmth and empathy with the people she met.
World Jewish Relief had been awarded a Comic Relief grant of £365,994 for our agricultural training programme and Caroline went to see how the money raised was changing people’s lives. World Jewish Relief has run programmes in Rwanda for the past 12 years, a country which shares a history of genocide with the Jewish community.
Caroline travelled to Rwamagama, eastern Rwanda where World Jewish Relief’s programme, run by our local partner Uyisenga Ni Imanzi, provides specialist training to young farmers to help them grow high value crops and access markets. It enables them to earn more from their produce so they can improve their prospects and help lift their families out of poverty.
Many of the participants she met were from communities devastated by the genocide twenty five years ago. Some of the young people had been orphaned in 1994 and found themselves caring for younger siblings even though they were still children themselves.
Caroline spent time with them in their fields, seeing how the training helped them choose and grow the best crops. Keen to get involved, she tried out a new water pump used for irrigation, helped harvest the ripe tomatoes and carried the large wicker baskets to load the truck. She then accompanied the young farmers to market to see them sell their crops and get paid for their hard work – earning a livelihood that will help them support their families and communities.
Caroline was always warm and interested in the lives of those she met and reflected on how inspired she had been by their strength and determination. She said: “I had no idea that coming to Rwanda would leave me so inspired by the strength of the human spirit. (People here) have managed to overcome their grief and improve their livelihoods by building their own profitable businesses and creating sustainable sources of income.”
Paul Anticoni, World Jewish Relief’s Chief Executive said, “We were shocked and saddened to hear the news of Caroline Flack. When she visited World Jewish Relief’s programmes in Rwanda in 2014 she showed great empathy with those facing life’s biggest challenges and brought warmth and joy to the participants she met.”
photo credit: Sam Faulkner / Comic Relief