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Concert in Formby for The Shyira Trust with Aughton Male Voice Choir

The Shyira Trust is a small Formby-based charity that was registered by St. Luke’s Church,

Formby. Its purpose is to support good health and education in Rwanda in general and

Shyira Parish in particular.

St Luke’s has a long history of helping people in Rwanda. That involvement took a big step

forward in 2000 when one of its readers (in the Anglican Church a reader is a lay minister)

was invited to join a group from Mid-Africa Ministry on a post-genocide fact finding visit to

Rwanda. One of the places visited was Shyira, a remote community in the hills of the north-west.

Shyira has a church, schools and a hospital built by Anglican missionaries in the 1930s. It

had suffered immense damage in the genocide of 1994, and the people were clearly

depressed with no one smiling and most people walking about with heads bowed. Back in

Formby the story of Shyira was told and pictures were shown. The outcome was a visit to

Shyira by ten members of the church in 2001.

In the course of the 2001 visit a letter offering a parish-to-parish link between St. Marks in

Shyira and St. Luke’s in Formby was read out and was received with great joy. St Luke’s

church promised to restore the derelict maternity building and to help in other ways – by

sponsoring children in school for example. A new maternity building was opened in 2004,

and other restoration projects were developed. The purpose was to help the people of Shyira recover from the horrors of genocide by developing their prosperity and ability to help themselves.

It soon became apparent that it would be better to financially separate the work in Rwanda from the day-to-day operation of the church in Formby and the Shyira Trust was registered with the Charity Commission. With Formby Rotary Club equipping the hospital and the Trust supporting the education and training of two nurses as midwives, the benefits of the new building and trained staff became apparent with a huge reduction in death rates of both mothers and their babies.

Other work going on at the same time included

• a total restoration of a derelict primary school

• rebuilding or restoration of the homes of 22 child headed families, supporting

education of the children and training for the child from each family who had acted as

a parent and so missed school.

• creating a farming project for people with HIV

• building of a church/community centre in nearby Butaka

• support for the church in Shyira

• Construction of a children’s centre

And much more to a total value of £376,895.

There are two other important aspects to the work of the Trust, both involving people.

Regular talks are given to different UK groups telling the story of Rwanda and the work the

Trust has been able to carry out. Also people are taken from the UK to Rwanda, and people are brought from Rwanda to Formby, all on short term visits. Included has been exchanges

between schools, all this helping restore the people of Shyira, and increase understanding of Rwanda by people in the UK. Ultimately the project is all about people.

Prof Allan Hobson, MBE

Chairman, Shyira Trust

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