Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Gemura Kitchen & Solid'Africa Honor Society

Project #
Northwestern University
  • Lydia Hsu

Gemura Kitchen & Solid’Africa Honor Society

Lydia Hsu devoted her Projects for Peace grant to work in Rwanda with the grassroots organization Solid’Africa in construction of a sustainable soup kitchen and in the establishment of a countrywide Solid’Africa Honor Society for high-achieving high-school students.

Isabelle Kamariza, a Rwandan law student, founded Solid’Africa in 2010. The organization is dedicated to serving the most vulnerable patients in Rwandan hospitals. While access to health care has improved dramatically in Rwanda, food is not offered to inpatients. As more than half the country’s population exists under the poverty level and many patients travel long distances for hospitalization, hunger is a great concern and has a direct and negative impact on recovery rates. When Lydia was introduced to Solid’Africa, volunteers were working out of two makeshift kitchens, trying to supply at least one meal a day to hundreds of patients. Lydia realized that a professional kitchen could make a significant difference, and one of her goals became the building of the Gemura Kitchen. “Gemura” means “to bring food” in Kinyarwanda. Lydia secured materials for the construction of the Gemura Kitchen and has future plans for the creation of a chicken farm to benefit Solid’Africa.

Lydia was awarded a Fulbright grant to continue her work in Rwanda, and will continue to work with Solid’Africa on the Gemura Kitchen and the chicken-farm enterprise this year while also putting together the Solid’Africa Honor Society. A nationwide organization roughly modeled after the U.S. National Honor Society, it will recognize high achievement and train and support students volunteering in district hospitals.