Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB) is a local non-governmental organization legally operating in Rwanda since 1995 with the mission to work towards the improvement of the situation of blind people through education and rehabilitation to facilitate meaningful equality and integration. As years went by, RUB established various programs in line with the continuous efforts to integrate the visually impaired people into the mainstream society while not leaving behind the education as the cornerstone of the bright future among the visually impaired community.



To work towards the improvement of the situation of blind people through education and rehabilitation to facilitate meaningful equality and integration


A situation where blind people access all rights as all other citizens, receive rehabilitation and education and can be employed as all other citizens


Ø Bring together blind people in a national organization to promote their fundamental rights;

Ø Raise awareness on needs, potentials and aspirations of persons with visual impairment in Rwanda;

Ø Promote education and rehabilitation of persons with visual impairment through dialogue with the government and other partners in development;

Ø Promote prevention of blindness and provision of eye care services through dialogue with relevant authorities and partners;

Ø Promote the inclusion of persons with visual impairment in sport and cultural activities.

RUB’s activities aim at improving the living conditions of persons with visual impairment trough advocacy, promoting the education of children with visual impairment, capacity development of members and rehabilitation program/service. Since its foundation, RUB has strengthened and extended the scope of its activities by establishing branches in almost all districts of the country. Currently, RUB has 64 well-established branches in 30 districts with primary beneficiaries being Persons with visual impairment and their families. It has about 2700 members across the country with its headquarters in Kigali City, Nyarugenge District, Muhima Sector on Poid -Lourds Road.

All of RUB branches are administered by visually impaired people and focus mainly on promoting income-generating projects and advocacy at local level.

RUB envisages having a situation where all necessary services for people with visual impairment are provided as a right of the individual and all eye problems are diagnosed and treated in good time. RUB hope to see education and employment opportunities as well as all other welfare services being as available to those who are visually impaired as they are to all other citizens.

To achieve its mission of improving the living conditions of persons with visual impairment in Rwanda, RUB assist its members to come out of isolation and to improve their economic status by setting up various programs including that of rehabilitation, providing small scale advocacy fund through their local associations to support their advocacy and awareness raising efforts locally among other activities.

RUB promotes the rights of people with vision impairment through advocacy assistance, education and outreach work to build the Rwandan society awareness and support for inclusion. Its members are supported in a wide range of situations, including cases where they have been denied their right to education, to work, to live independently, to access a good standard of healthcare and to enjoy participating in family and community life.

Challenges faced by RUB are neither new nor unique to Rwanda or to RUB.

Below are some of the more easily identifiable challenges;

·        Limited funding

The government of Rwanda is not able to support many of the activities curried out by NGOs such as RUB. This may be in part due to limited knowledge on what is needed or what can be done, but mostly the problem is that the funding available cannot cover all these activities. RUB has to heavily depend on international donors through our partners to support all RUB.  Currently the funding is done per project and over limited period. The work that RUB is doing is work which should be done systematically over many years.


Despite the work that RUB does since 1994, there are still many blind and visually impaired people who had not been reached. There are also many others who are losing their sight. The kind of people applying to Rub both for the training at MRCB and as members is becoming more valid. There are those who are looking for formal employment and who need assistive devices, those who have never left their homes and who feel down cast, those who need to get back to school and therefore need an intensive course in Braille and so on. RUB needs more permanent structures and more funding to deal with all these situations. Alternatively there should be government institutions which can take on some of these issues.

·        Lack of funding to economically support different initiatives of blind and partially sighted people in different districts across the country.


·        Lack of employment opportunities for visually impaired people;

Access to education for people with visual impairment is itself a challenge but access to employment after the education is uneven greater challenge. Many employers have the unfortunate belief that visually impaired cannot perform. This means that a blind person is denied even the opportunity to try out his/her skills.

The main challenge in this area is about mindset and lack of assistive technology support to graduated persons with visual impairment to be able to create and access employment opportunities.

·        Low level of education of visually impaired persons;

Although education of the visually impaired persons started in Rwanda in 1979, secondary education was not accessible to blind students until the late 1990s. Only every small number of children with visual impairment made it to the single school at Gatagara. University education did not start for visually impaired people until 2008. Currently, those in university and the visually impaired graduates are is less  100. That means that out of the 57000 and above few people could be said to be having an education that can support employment. Most of the visually impaired people in Rwanda are either totally dependent on family members or they have to beg for a living.

 Many identified children with visual impairment are not enrolled and others drop out due to the economic status of their families.


Other specific challenges


1.Low individual participation in the educational sector by depending on friends and well-wisher readers in learning institutions for persons who are blind, visually impaired of print disabled in accessing print materials;

2.Compromise and derogation on the inherent dignity of persons who are blind, visually impaired or print disabled on their right to access books and cultural works in accessible formats to enhance full and effective participation in society;

3. Extreme poverty among persons with visual impairment and their respective families and the community negative mindset towards the ability of visually impaired people.






– RUB has a legal personality

-affiliations locally and internationally

-RUB Value. Gives an edge that promotes initiative and accountability.

-RUB representation in 30 districts of Rwanda

– Governance structures (executive committee and sub-committees at national level

-Existence of  executive committee working committee at grass root level.

-Availability of resources: human, physical, space– required to deliver services

-Functional Board

 -Lack of evidence based research for advocacy & campaign. ( data on all persons with visual impairment across the country)

-Low educational level among RUB members limiting their participation in all sectors of life

– Limited funds to support all RUB initiatives




·        Availability of national, regional & international legal frame work to promote the rights of PWDs

·        Availability of some partners supporting RUB

·        Establishment of a rehabilitation center and its role

·        RUB membership with national Umbrella organizations (UPHLS & NUDOR)

·        RUB membership with regional (member of African Union of the Blind) and global networks (member of World Blind Union of the Blind)

·        Availability of the space for expansion of activities

·        Political will of the government to promote the rights of persons with visual impairment

·        Good relation with National Council for persons with Disabilities and districts