The Story of Kageyo, Rwanda – A Refugee Community Rescued from Food Crisis

Creation, Agriculture , Food

Contributed by: Thrive for Good


Imagine living in a remote village, a five-hour drive from any major city.

Living in an 8 by 12 ft mud hut and sleeping on the ground.

Working seven days a week to feed your family two meals of rice and corn per day.

And when you think it’s finally time for a break, you still have to walk miles to gather water for baths and washing clothes.

Then unexpectedly having all transportation halted and limited food supplies because of a global pandemic.

What would you do? How would you feed your family?

Unfortunately, this imagined situation was a true story for the small village of Kageyo, Rwanda.

This was their beginning, but it wasn’t the end.

The story started in March 2020 when one of Thrive’s trainers, James Mushinzimana, was sent to help this community. COVID had just begun, and Kageyo was getting hit hard.

They were in a desperate situation because they had reduced food supplies and were very low on the list for any support.

Fortunately, James was able to stay in the village to help. The time was crucial, as seeds needed to be planted before the rainy season-ending.

James decided the best approach was to build a huge community garden to support the members’ needs. With the help of program partners, $1,000 worth of seeds were delivered to James, who planted them just in time.


Before trainer James, nothing was able to be grown in the soil of Kageyo. I was only able to plant beans and maize for my family of 5 children. James taught us how to build our soil so that we could grow greens and other healthy vegetables. My family started harvesting and eating nutritious foods which changed our lives.“

– Nzabonimpa Theoneste, Member of Kageyo


To date, James has started 60 Life Garden projects that are providing 1,320 people in need with healthy, nutritious, and disease-fighting foods.

Now community members’ regular meals of rice and corn have been replaced with food that is high in nutrients, building their immune system to combat diseases like COVID-19.

This is a story of just one village that has been transformed by organic gardening. Thrive’s methodology has been proven in over 900 communities like Kageyo, and we need your help to transform more communities and help more people living in poverty. The easiest way to help is to donate here by clicking here.

Thank you for empowering more people in need to become self-sustainable.