Rwanda UK Goodwill Organisation
1161. Mike Hughes
1162. Colette Hughes
Mike and Colette Hughes, who met in Swansea, are the founders of the ‘Rwanda UK Goodwill Organisation’, which has played a leading role in supporting the recovery of the country since the devastation of the genocide.
Having fled Rwanda at the age of eight, Colette was determined to reconnect with her remaining family after the atrocities. Despite both working full-time jobs, she and Mike dedicated their evenings and weekends to planning reconstruction projects and founded the ‘Rwanda UK Goodwill Organisation (RUGO)’ to coordinate their efforts. The organisation has supported multiple projects to boost education and economic development, including providing solar power to more than 100 homes in the remote village of Karambi, and funding the construction of a vocational school in Nyamata, where some of the worst massacres of the genocide took place. Most recently, RUGO sent a delegation of women from Rwanda to India to learn how to make solar panels as part of a growing sustainable rural energy project.
Mike and Colette’s award coincides with the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the genocide in Rwanda on 7th April. They were presented with their awards in June by the UK High Commissioner in Rwanda, Jo Lomas, at the UK High Commission Kigali (pictured below).
In a personal letter to Mike and Colette, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Together, you are helping to rebuild communities in Rwanda left so damaged by the abhorrent events of the genocide. Your expertise and commitment to creating education and infrastructure projects in the country is helping to transform the lives of hundreds of people in remote villages. As we come together to mark the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the genocide, it is truly fitting that we the honour the contribution you have made to a country you love.”
Mike and Colette said:
“We are very honoured and grateful that we have been chosen for this award. The circumstances in Rwanda just compelled us to do whatever we can to help and we have been fortunate in the help that we have received from the British people through the ‘Rwanda UK Goodwill Organisation’ in terms of membership fees, fund raising events, donations and all the support they have given to the events and activities of RUGO. This award is also very much in recognition of their help and support.”