Rwanda: Peace Corps Volunteers Return to Rwanda (February 2009)

After a 15-year absence, Peace Corps Volunteers are returning to Rwanda. "It's exciting for us to be able to return to Rwanda and to renew our relationship with the Rwandan people," said Peace Corps Acting Director Jody Olsen.

In 1994, political instability forced Peace Corps to close its 20 year operation in Rwanda. But as of January 28, 2009, the doors have reopened and 35 volunteers have entered the country once again.

The volunteers will primarily work in areas of health and community development and will collaborate with other United States partners to support the Government of Rwanda's strategy to combat the country's HIV/AIDS epidemic.

An estimated 150,000 Rwandans are currently living with HIV/AIDS.

The volunteers supported by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) will engage in HIV/AIDS prevention and care activities.

"There has never been a better time for Peace Corps to return to Rwanda. Volunteers serve as the face of America and will have great impact on the bright future of Rwanda," said U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Stuart Symington.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame expressed his support and excitement over the Peace Corps volunteers.

"The relationship between the U.S. and Rwanda is decades old and has never been as good. Peace Corps' presence will enhance that relationship. We have been working on the return of the Peace Corps for a number of years, and I'm happy to see it happen," said President Kagame.

These 35 volunteers will serve varying tours of two to four years in Rwanda. U.S. Government interagency website managed by the Office of U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
and the Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. State Department.
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