Rwanda maker interest


by Sylvia Martinez -

Hi Fellows,

A friend of a friend is traveling in Rwanda and posted this on her blog:


Our next stop was to the WE-ACT clinic with Mardge Cohen, an American HIV-AIDS physician, who spends part of her year in Rwanda working at the clinic with about 3500 patients.  What is unique about the clinic is the psychosocial program that treats the whole person, not just the physical.  With a staff of about 40, they do blood tests, distribute medicine and provide counseling services as well as groups.


The Rwandan genocide has taken a huge psychological toll and at the end of 1994, there was ONE psychiatrist in the country and no psychotherapists.  In 1996 a number of countries sent counselors to work with the survivors and in 1999 a one year training program was established for trauma counselors.  All of the peer-parents and trauma counselors have supervision and support.  There is now an overabundance of trained therapists in the country.


The WE ACT clinic responds to the needs of the clients and the sewing cooperative is an example of one off shoot, others are camps provided during school holidays actually funded through a high school in Chicago.  As these adolescents grow and develop the leadership skills through being a mentor, there is a need to help them channel their energy into a productive and sustainable area in their lives.  College is mostly out of the question for these poorer citizens.

The clinic is very interested in creating a "Maker Space" for these talented individuals to learn more about technology, innovation and invention.  I share that desire here in the event that someone in our ed tech community could point to some resources to share with them.


So - my question. I've sent her the blog posts from Roy and Juliet to start, both as inspiration and for connections. What next? Other resources or connections we can offer? Let me know and I'll pass along.




Roy Ombatti's picture

Hey Sylvia! This sounds great. I know of a group of MIT alumni who have been doing some maker education in Rwanda. So perhaps it would be cool to link them to this initiative. Let me send them an email and get back to you.

Roy Ombatti's picture

Here is a link to their blog They are only in Rwanda for a few more weeks but they are happy to connect with anyone currently working there. So how can we go about linking/connecting them with your friend?