About Rwanda

Hannah Murphy and the chocolate chip cookies she baked to raise money

In the spring of 2009, Hannah Murhpy was a 9-year old who was inspired by the time she was able to spend with one of our visiting students (Steven Afazari). She acted on her inspiration by writing a report for her class, selling cookies to raise money for the students, and creating the video below in order to provide some history about the Rwanda genocide and appeal for more help for students like Steven. Her video was so simple, concise, and eloquent that it seems like a very good place to start in describing Rwanda’s history leading up to today.


Rwanda - Land of a Thousand Hills

Today, Rwanda shows much promise. Rwandans speak of themselves as Rwandans rather than Hutu or Tutsi, and an amazing level of reconciliation has occurred that is now a model for the rest of the world. It is a safe and stable sub-Sahara country that does not tolerate corruption. Some interesting facts about Rwanda include the following:


  • Rwanda was granted independence from Belgium in 1962
  • It has a population of about 11 million and is roughly the size of Maryland
  • The native language is Kinyarwanda, although French and English are also spoken by many
  • Rwanda is referred to as “Land of a Thousand Hills”; in Kinyarwanda, the phrase is “Igihugu cy’Imisozi Igihumbi”.
  • Primary agricultural crops include bananas, coffee, potatoes, and cassava (yuca root).

Rwandans are friendly and optimistic people who genuinely appreciate and value the outside support they receive. Even so, 40 percent of Rwanda’s population is under the age of 14, most families live in small villages with no electricity or running water, and so the people of Rwanda still need help. Education is the key to improving living conditions and preventing the intolerance that leads to violence. Ultimately, education will also give Rwanda’s people the dignity and power of being able to help themselves and others too. The Kittelson Charitable Foundation is helping to educate this country one child at a time.