We live in a psychiatric hospital in Rwanda

We Live in a Psychiatric Hospital in Rwanda
49697180_1594919710482890_r.jpeg  Brother Charles, Director General of Caraes Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital

Imagine living in a psychiatric hospital for more than 4 years! This is the story of 40 men and women with chronic mental illness who have been living for years in the acute crisis ward at Caraes Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda. The hospital has a dream of building a residential home for them because they have no family support or means to return to the community.
Caraes Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital celebrated its 50th year Jubilee in 2018. The hospital was built in 1968 by the Brothers of Charity in response to the need for a psychiatric hospital in Rwanda. The hospital started with a plan for 120 inpatients, but was destroyed in 1994 during the Genocide against the Tutsi and many of the medical staff were killed. The Brothers of Charity rebuilt the hospital with the help of the Rwandan government.  Currently, in 2020, Caraes Ndera has 404 beds with a demand for psychiatric hospitalization beyond the hospital’s capacity, sometimes resulting in patients having to share a bed.  

At Caraes Ndera, the group of 40 patients with chronic schizophrenia living in the acute crisis unit, have been stabilized on medication for many years. There is no reason they should be in the crisis unit except they simply have nowhere to go: no family, relatives or friends willing or able to take them in and care for them. Many were traumatized and found wandering in the streets after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Police brought them to Ndera because all their family members had been killed and they had no one. The hospital also has a very small center, St. Jules, that houses 13 elderly patients, many in their 70’s with schizophrenia who have been living at the center for more than 25 years because of having nowhere to live in the community. Some were brought to the hospital even before the genocide, by family members due to cultural stigma about mental illness and they were rejected by their families.
49697180_1594920167569205_r.jpegThere are no residential homes for people with mental illness in Rwanda. St. Jules Center at Ndera is not able to accommodate more patients who require residential care. The only option is for the hospital to build a sustainable residential home for the 40 patients currently living in the acute crisis unit who are between the ages of 35 and 65. These men and women have spent more than four years living in the hospital! They need a residential home-like setting where they can receive follow up psychiatric treatment and rehabilitation, art and music therapy, and develop independent living skills.
The home will have vocational training: soap and candle making, basket weaving, sewing, cooking and animal husbandry. Products made by the residents will be sold at local markets in order to generate income and more importantly, to give residents a sense of personal autonomy and self-worth. Residential care will allow residents to acquire the necessary skills to function independently and integrate back into society whenever possible. The residential home will also help Caraes Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital decrease the bed occupancy rate which is currently at 120% capacity in the acute crisis unit, allowing more individualized patient care.

COVID-19 has been the tipping point for Ndera Hospital, causing a great deal of concern because of having more than 200 patients in the acute crisis ward and the impossibility of social distancing between patients. There is an urgency to build a rehabilitation center for the chronically ill patients who do not need acute care. Your support will help us design and begin constructing a building on land near the hospital that will have the capacity to house 50 patients and staff to care for them. It is estimated that this new unit will cost approximately 300,000 USD. Your donation will be life changing and greatly appreciated. Ndera Hospital can help these men and women leave the hospital and achieve their potential with dignity in a home-like setting.
·       The Brothers of Charity, Fracarita International (NGO) in Belgium, will process donations because GoFundMe is not set up to make direct deposits to organizations in Rwanda. All money collected will go directly to Caraes Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda.


  • Theresa Schütt 
    • €50 
    • 2 d
  • Anonymous 
    • €100 
    • 10 d
  • Nzikoruriho Gervais 
    • €50 
    • 14 d
  • Anonymous 
    • €30 
    • 16 d
  • Anonymous 
    • €200 
    • 16 d
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Claude Arnold 
Bruxelles, BRU, Belgium
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