A LINK has been forged between Cumbernauld and Rwanda following the opening of a new charity shop in the town centre.
Comfort Rwanda which was founded by Kilsyth clergyman Reverend Callum Henderson in 1999 has been operating a charity shop in Airdrie for the last few years – but the charity wanted to branch out.
And now it has the former Tay Cafe premises in Tay Walk to call its own - as well as another new shop in Kirkintilloch.
Called Comfort Kids Rwanda, the shop doesn’t merely stock quality secondhand goods but an intriguing selection of Rwandan crafts made as a fundraising tool by widows and orphans.
As this troubled nation attempts to recover, there is still an overwhelming need for international aid, provided by charities like this one.
The commercial side of Comfort Kids is being run by local businesswoman Susan Donaldson who owns Tiny Tots nursery in Seafar.
She said: ‘‘Although our charity is called Comfort Rwanda we thought the name Comfort Kids was better for the shop. Because that is exactly what we want to do.
“In Rwanda the legal age for marriage has been raised to 21. A lot of women are having babies out of wedlock as a result and there is a stigma attached to this. As a result babies are being abandoned. We want to rescue them. And comfort them.
“Our goal is to build an orphanage for them but in the meantime we are looking after street children as well as the victims of the genocide. We are providing vocational training for them too. So it is a hand-up as well as a handout,” she said.
Rev. Henderson who is based at Kilsyth Community Church is equally pleased that the shop is trading in Cumbernauld - and he believes that many locals will take the cause to their hearts.
He said: “We are delighted to be up and running in Cumbernauld – there is just so much potential here and people will be able to see what it is that we do.
“In Rwanda people are just trying to do their best to recover. Some of them lost their whole families in the genocide but there is a lot of hope for the future too,” said Rev Henderson who will be bringing a group of locals to Rwanda this year.
The charity is hoping that News readers will help them bolster stock levels by donating unwanted Christmas gifts and clothing. It also wants to increase its pool of volunteers.
Anyone who can help is asked to call into the shop.