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Small acts can make a great impact – by Josine Mutuyimana

Small acts can make a great impact – by Josine Mutuyimana

​In May 2017, I returned to Rwanda for the summer because I had an internship with The Rwanda Standards Board in food safety and quality assurance. Before I left the U.S., I knew I wanted to give back by being involved in a community activity but I had no idea how I’d achieve that personal goal.

So when I arrived in Rwanda, I met a friend who introduced me to five kids who are being raised by their 20-year-old sister who doesn’t have a job.
The children are orphans, and they live in a small house rented for them by the church that their mom used to attend. After she told me their story, I wanted so badly to help them because I believe in doing small acts for other people. 

I decided to visit the children and share a meal with them. I asked a friend to go with me, and we bought different kinds of food that would last for a week and ready-to-eat snacks. When we arrived at their home, we found out one of the kids was extremely sick and she couldn’t go to the hospital because she had no money or health insurance. It really touched my heart, and I told myself that I could do more. So I set a personal goal to do whatever it would take to get their family health insurance.


​When I came back to Michigan State University earlier this year, I organized a fundraising activity. I started by telling some of my friends at school about the kids. I told them that even one dollar could change their lives because health insurance in Rwanda is not that expensive. The government pays a high percentage of health insurance and the rest is covered by individuals. Everyone gave whatever they had and although not many people contributed, I raised $120 to purchase health insurance cards for all of them. 

Since I was at school, I called the family’s older sister and shared the good news. My sister in Rwanda agreed to help me so she visited the family and helped them get their insurance cards. They were super happy and surprised because we only met once. They probably thought that I had forgotten about them. I’m still in touch with the children and sometimes I send my sister to go and visit them on my behalf. This experience taught me it really doesn’t take that much money to help others, and one thing that I keep telling myself is that a small act can change someone’s life. It’s very fulfilling to achieve the small goals that you set for yourself!

​It has always been my motivation to help because it simply provides a happiness that I know I can never get anywhere else. Plus it doesn’t require anything other than a heart that desires to serve others. Helping reminds me of my purpose, and I take every single opportunity to give back and make a difference.