Ndengera organization, a church-affiliated Non-Governmental Organisation which claimed that every 14 seconds, a Rwandan child is orphaned by AIDS is a briefcase NGO that is not registered as it claims, The New Times can exclusively reveal.
The NGO posted the dimming revelation on its website; www.rwandanorphansfoundation.com that HIV prevalence in Rwanda was atrocious, a claim repeatedly denied by the head of National Commission in the fight against HIV.
Anita Asiimwe, CNLS’s Executive Secretary described Ndengera organisation’s figures as “shocking and inaccurate.”
“What I can tell you is that what this NGO is saying is wrong,” Asiimwe said by phone yesterday.
When the leaders of the NGO learnt that The New Times had started following the story to find out the accuracy of these figures, it shut down the website and went under-cover. Since then, the chase by this newspaper to establish its existence has become a receding mirage.
According to information earlier posted on its website, the NGO claimed it had offices in Gisenyi- Rubavu District. But leaders in the area say no such organisation exists in the district’s registry.
“We register every NGO operating in the area. I suspect this is just a briefcase NGO bent on cheating our people,” a source at the district familiar with NGOs’s registration said on phone. He said he had cross-checked thoroughly and Ndegera was not in the district data bank.
“Unless it is operating illegally,” the source added.
“I can assure you that the records here do not have that NGO,” he adds.
Mathematically, it would imply that four kids are orphaned by HIV/AIDS in a minute, which adds up to over 257 every hour, and then 6,171 a day.
In a month, 185,142 children will be orphaned while more than 2.2 million children will be orphaned each year.
Ndengera Organisation is said to be headed by Rev Simon Pierre Rwaramba and his wife Caritas Mukarurangwa.
When Rwaramba heard it was The New Times calling, he switched off his cell phone. His wife also feigned ignorance about the organization.
Ndegera is affiliated to the Church of the Nazarene International.
Reliable sources at Kigali-based Nazarene church maintain that Rev. Rwaramba has previously accused his colleague, Pastor Francois Tambwe, of revealing details concerning his church to the press.
Tambwe is the overseer of Church of the Nazarene international in Kigali. However, during an interview on Tuesday, Tambwe declined to comment on the matter.
But he earlier castigated Rwaramba over misleading the world about the HIV figures in Rwanda. He said all members of the Nazarene Churches in Rwanda were answerable to their boss based in Kigali. He refused to give this newspaper the boss’s contacts.
“I control Central District and Rev. Rwaramba Northern District and each one of us has administrative autonomy. It is better you talk to him,” Tambwe said. He insisted he was not answerable to what goes on in Rev. Rwaramba’s territory.
Nazarene church was introduced by a group of missionaries in 90s but spread across the country after 1994 Genocide and got legal status in 2003.
Government has in the past waged war against errant NGOs, warning some unregistered NGO to register or face closure.
Claudette Umulisa, an official from Immigration and Emigration department had previously said that some NGOs were non existent and those existing had huge funds but with little activities on the ground to account for the money they get.
In some cases, many people and organizations have turned the plight of Rwandans in the last 15 years as a means of making money.