JDC `shifts’ Aid to Rwanda

Rwandans are “gearing” up for their Chanukah gift from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

For the upcoming holiday, the JDC is sending 1,000 bicycles to Rwanda so that providers of badly needed services, such as social workers and nurses, can better reach people in need, the JDC said.

The JDC has been providing extensive assistance to Rwandans for more than a year.

More than 500,000 people were killed in Rwanda in the months of brutal valance that erupted in April 1994. The government is dealing with a massive refugee population. Within Rwanda, there are hundreds of thousands of refugees, many of them widows and orphans.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer will launch the project at a special Chanukah celebration Dec. 11 at the Mission of Rwanda to the United Nations in New York.

The JDC will present the first bicycle to Manzi Bakuramutsa, the Rwandan ambassador to the United Nations, who will then test ride it.

Jewish and Episcopal schoolchildren interested in Rwanda also will attend the ceremony.

In addition, bicycle cooperatives will be established in Rwanda so that people will be able to use this means of transportation for such tasks as purchasing food, the JDC said.

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