Mulindi-Japan One Love land is a little paradise in the heart Kigali city where peace and love thrives.
The place is very green and a very quiet and peaceful place.
There is a little river running around the thatched huts all around. Rastafarian Gatera Rudasingwa is the brains behind this project and has overcome many obstacles in his own life to become one of the admired Rastafarians.
Gatera was raised at a child-care facility.
He said he was perceived as a burden because of the paralysis in his right leg caused by errors in medical treatment he received as an infant.
His compassion for people with disabilities was nurtured this way. His compassion has created a heart that moves the souls of many Rwandans living with disability.
“I wanted to help the physically handicapped in my homeland, and my hope was shared by Yoshida, my wife,” he said.
As a truly compassionate, loving, and kind man, he is popularly known to be the ‘first Rastafarian in Kigali to wear dreadlocks’.
Early in 1992, the Rwandan Patriotic Front was in the middle of the Rwandan civil war. At a camp in the area of Mulindi, in northern Rwanda, a conference of Rwandans from different corners of the world addressed the RPF leaders.
“During that time, I asked the RPF leaders to keep fighting for the freedom of Rwandans to return home, and promised that if they lost their leg or arm in the battlefield, he would give them another leg or arm free of charge” Rudasingwa said.
He remained true to his promise.
He later learnt Swahili and returned to Japan with his wife Yoshida who trained at an artificial limb factory in Yokohama for five years. She obtained a license as an artificial limb maker.
During his interview punctuated with Swahili and French, Rudasingwa revealed that he met Mami Yoshida in Kenya while he was a refugee. It was during that short time that they had a romantic encounter.
With a big heart for Rwandans with disability, Rudasingwa returned to his devastated homeland in 1994 and asked Yoshida to join him.
She did join him in 1995 and they have since worked together.
In the heart of Rwanda’s capital Kigali, Yoshida and Rudasingwa founded their base of operations. Mulindi-Japan One Love, provides prostheses to Rwandans free of charge.
The hectare of land was given to them by the Rwandan Government and the couple has built an artificial leg plant which matches the skin color of the disabled.
Rudasingwa says that right after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda had so many people who were left severely handicapped.
His NGO works to help these people—they make artificial limbs and wheelchairs, train orthopedic technicians and offer rehabilitation to those who are handicapped at no cost.
Their project site shelters guest houses which are well equipped with facilities.
‘One Love’ houses a clinic, a prosthetic limbs workshop, a conference hall, restaurants, guesthouses, and beautiful gardens. To date, they have provided over 4,000 Rwandans prosthetic limbs for free.
“We do business here to generate income- for the workshop, which has continued to offer free prosthetic limbs and other equipment to anyone who can’t afford to go to a private clinic,” he disclosed.
He has received a number of donations from different developed nations.
However, he says, “We can’t just lean on that forever because anytime donations could stop, our goal is to be able to fund ourselves.”
“One thing I would love to tell the world is that spending a night at the guesthouse or having a drink at this kind paradise, is contributing directly to the project.
Mulindi-Japan One Love complex has expanded to Burundi and is soon expanding to Kenya. Their love is not limited to Rwanda anymore.
Last year, Rudasingwa opened a One Love site in USA.
“The base for our life is in Rwanda because we have a heart for Rwandans and a true Rastafarian has to show compassion to the needy,” Rudasingwa said.