Ryan Gryniewicz— duty manager of Louth’s Lincolnshire Co-Operative food store at in the U.K. arrived in Rwanda last year on December 29, 2012 on a five-day adventure to witness how raised money has helped towards changing the lives of people living in poverty.
Gryniewicz and his group journeyed to see how donated money raised by his customers has helped to tackle poverty in the Rwanda.
Members of Lincolnshire Co-operative saw first—hand how co-operatives are run Rwandan-style to help rebuild the country which was devastated by its past.
Ryan made the journey with some of the society’s other top fundraisers and was joined by membership and community manager Sam Turner, charity of the year co-ordinator Faye Niblett and society chief executive Ursula Lidbetter.
The team began their adventure with a visit to the Genocide Memorial – a stark reminder of Rwanda’s troubled past.
They then set about seeing how the Rwandan people have rebuilt their lives with the help of Plan Rwanda and a wave of co-operatives.
The group also had the opportunity to visit a group of former prostitutes who, with the help of Plan Rwanda, had saved up enough money together to leave their past behind and set up a cassava co-op.
They finished their adventure with a game drive in Akagera National Park—which covers 90,000 hectares of lowland savannah and wetlands.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience an insight into the Rwandan people’s way of life. It puts into perspective what we take for granted,” said Gryniewicz.
“I didn’t know what to expect. You see things on the television but it’s not the same – they’re so happy and positive and it’s a really beautiful country,” he added.
“It was great seeing how members of the Co-ops have merged together to build a better future. They’re not just thinking about the here and now but the next generation.”
Each year Lincolnshire Co-op raises money for a charity voted for by its members.
Staffs are still raising money for the two charities they support, Plan UK and Pascal, and have so far totted up more than £80,000. The final total will be announced in this new year- 2013.