A member of staff from Lincolnshire Co-op in Louth joined a group that journeyed 4,000 miles to Rwanda to see how money raised by the society has been helping young people set up co-operative businesses.
Throughout the year colleagues have been taking part in lots of activities to raise money for two charities; Pascal, a co-operative of Age UKs in Lincolnshire, and Plan UK, an international children’s development organisation.
The society’s fundraising for Plan is going towards a project to help young people pull themselves out of poverty in the poorest regions of Rwanda.
To see just what a difference the money is making, three of the Society’s top fundraisers, including Ryan Gryniewicz Duty Manager at the Newbridge Hill Foodstore in Louth, joined the trip.
The team began their five-day 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.
Ryan said: “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. 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. 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. Staff are still raising money for Plan UK and Pascal and have so far totted up more than £80,000. The final total will be announced in the New Year.