14 June 2018

Rwanda: Solid Africa Begins Construction of Industrial Kitchen

Construction of an industrial kitchen to prepare mass meals for less privileged patients in public hospitals kicked off yesterday.

The industrial kitchen is an initiative by a local NGO, Solid Africa in partnership with Imbuto Foundation and the Mohammed VI Foundation for Sustainable Development led by King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

The kitchen is dubbed "MS Gemura Kitchen". Gemura is a Kinyarwanda word commonly used to refer to the process of supplying or delivery of food to patients.

Solid Africa is a Rwandan non-profit organisation that aims at supporting the most socio-economically vulnerable patients in need of medical, hygiene, emotional, suitable diet and food assistance in public hospitals. It has been operating since 2011.

According to Isabelle Kamariza, the Solid Africa Founder, the new facility will provide three meals per day to 1,000 vulnerable patients across six public hospitals in Kigali.

The benefiting hospitals are CHUK, Kibagabaga Hospital, Kanombe Military Hospital, Muhima Hospital, Masaka Hospital and Kacyiru Hospital, and at no cost,

"This initiative means a lot to our cause of reaching as many vulnerable people as possible," Kamariza said.

"We started by feeding 20 people in 2011. We couldn't imagine that in few years we will be able to provide 1,000 patients with three meals a day, taking care of their specific diet."

Kamariza thanked their partners especially Imbuto Foundation for being the bridge in supporting a noble cause.

"This will be the first industrial kitchen that will have the capacity of producing 15,000 meals a day. We are looking at how it can be sustainable, and eco-friendly," she added.

Solid Africa was formed by about 50 youth and has about 200 volunteers who bring together their resources and collectively donate to patients through providing meals and paying medical bills for the less privileged.

Imbuto Foundation's Vice Chairperson Rita Zirimwabagabo noted that the industrial kitchen would align well with other national priorities to uplift the lives of the most vulnerable ones in our communities.

"From the onset, we knew that similar to other socially-driven projects developed by this group of committed, and inspiring, young individuals, this industrial kitchen would align well with other national priorities to uplift the lives of the most vulnerable ones in our communities," Zirimwabagabo says.

She added: "We also knew that the MS Gemura Kitchen would require months of preparations, since we were all getting involved in a project of such a magnitude, calling on the inputs of diverse experts in the fields of architecture, engineering, healthcare, hospitality, and food management."

Imbuto's Director General Sandrine Umutoni noted that the facility will be operational in about six months.

"This partnership brings us, at Imbuto, a step closer to our goal of supporting the most vulnerable members of our community," Umutoni said.

The launch of the construction project is more good news coming Solid Africa's way. Just last week, Kamariza, the founder, was honoured by Queen Elizabeth II with the Commonwealth Point of Light award.

Kamariza hopes to serve all district hospitals within the next three years and beyod Rwandan borders as well.

"Our plan is to extend this initiative across the continent in the spirit of African Solidarity," Kamariza said.

Kamariza became the 55th recipient of this award for her exceptional voluntary service supporting patients in Rwandan hospitals.

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