When Aloys Manzi left the country for further studies over three decades ago, his heart never stopped aching for his motherland.
Raised in Rulindo district, Manzi spent the majority of his youth living with his grandmother.
He eventually left the village and went to live in Kigali for some years before he left for France for studies and later to the United Kingdom where he currently lives and works.
When he eventually settled and established himself in the UK, Manzi said that he started working on his dream to give back to his country.
“I always wanted to give back to my country, especially to those less fortunate. I knew even then that I wanted to start from the place that is dear to me, the place where I was raised,” he explained.
At the beginning, Manzi did not have sufficient means but his passion for helping others continued to push him to help disadvantaged people become self-sufficient.
Beneficiaries speak out
Elizabeth Iraguha is one of the Manzi Foundation beneficiaries. She says that since she was abandoned by her husband, she has been having difficulties paying health insurance.
“My husband left me and my life has been going from bad to worse. I have been struggling to get health insurance and I am happy that I and my three kids will be getting treatment,” she says.
Manzi believes that diaspora as well as Rwandans who have means have a moral responsibility to contribute towards the improvement of their communities.
“We have a moral obligation to help those who are less fortunate. If we want a prosperous country, let’s all invest in our communities and help those in need,” he urges.
So far he says he has spent over Rwf50 million and the budget will go higher depending on the needs of projects and the number of people to support.
What has been done so far?
Besides his immediate family, the father of three says that he was also motivated by local leaders who welcomed his idea and supported him when he set up Manzi Foundation in 2013.
“I first paid tuition for 16 young girls and boys who could not afford it and they were able to pursue a skill of their choice in the technical and vocational Training,” he says.
Since then, he has paid health insurance fees (mutuelle de santé) for the local community with about 150 people currently covered.
In education, he has also rewarded the best performing teachers and students in several selected schools in the district.
Manzi, who says that he goes by the John F. Kennedy mantra, that says; “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country, says that he is also guided by his faith in helping and assisting those in need.
He says the main focus is children and youth education and projects related to health as well as poverty alleviation initiatives.
“The way forward is to extend our current activities so that we can reach more children and teachers in other areas of the district, before extending our operations across the country,” he said
He added that through the foundation, he wants to extend his support and roll out a poverty alleviation program that promotes pig farming.