What is AVEH exactly?
AVEH is the abbreviation for Association de Volontaires pour les Enfants Handicapés; a small centre for children with disabilities. The centre accommodates up to twenty physically and mentally disabled children who have been abandoned or ‘handed over’ here by relatives who are unable to care for them. Because the centre has to operate without government support, it often lacks the most elementary things like clean drinking water and nappies. The Foundation supports AVEH with money to improve the living conditions in the centre and with advice to make the centre self-sufficient over time. In order to achieve this, we have drawn up a number of ‘intermediate goals’.
The AVEH-Umurerwa Centrum in Nyamata
The first meeting with AVEH
Salma Peter did her university studies in economics in Rwanda and obtained her master’s degree in consultancy at the Rotterdam Business School. After her studies, she started working in Kigali. As editor of Feel Mag magazine, she came into contact with the AVEH centre, which she and a photographer friend drove to in 2018, just under an hour south of Kigali. They were not prepared for what they found there: 20 physically and mentally disabled children, cared for by volunteers in a centre where almost nothing was available. The inspirational leadership was – and still is – in the hands of Cecile, who built the centre herself from scratch in 2005. This visit made such an impression on Salma and her friend that they could only find it in their hearts to say goodbye after they had spent all their money on water, milk and food for the children.
Salma’s article for Feel Mag gives a good impression of this visit. After this day she often returned to AVEH, where she has now built up a friendship with Cecile. Jan Willem Andriessen also visited the centre several times during his visits to Rwanda.