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Patrick Mahoney '83, P20 Establishes Non-Profit Project in Rwanda

Patrick Mahoney ‘83, P20 and Eaglebrook trustee traveled to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda in December 2018. Mahoney traveled to Rwanda to help his sister establish a new business. The business connects talented local artists to markets in places like Palm Beach and Paris. Many families in Rwanda live far below the poverty line and have little access to resources. Therefore, Mahoney took a full suitcase full of Eaglebrook merchandise with him to Kigali. He also brought soccer balls, crayons, and even various musical instruments. Mahoney noted, “the customs agents stopped me and asked what it was all for.” Mahoney replied, “it is all to give away.” The customs agents then smiled and let Mahoney through.

After touring the capital and countryside, Mahoney quickly fell in love with the people and place. He was fortunate enough via an introduction from Headmaster Andrew Chase to meet with the First Lady of Rwanda and past Eaglebrook parent, Jeannette Kagame P12, P13. Her husband, Paul Kagame has been the President of Rwanda since 2000. Mahoney said, “Mrs. Kagame was so positive and her non-profit Imbuto Foundation is very inspiring.”

Mahoney donated the suitcases full of merchandise and gear to a group of kids at the Nyamirambo Women’s Center, which sponsors a library where kids can go after school. “There is now an unofficial and informal Eaglebrook soccer team in Kigali,” Mahoney proclaimed. This trip for Mahoney, “was a very powerful and moving experience and they need more.” He realized he could do more than just provide access to retail markets and he began to form an idea.

Mahoney returned to Rwanda in February to establish a new non-profit project, in collaboration with the Imbuto Foundation, to operate "The Rwanda Bookmobile."  Mahoney said, “We are recruiting our team in Kigali now, and going through all of the registration work to prepare to launch this new literacy project. Next, the group will build out the bus itself and start to stock the shelves with children's books in Kinyarwanda, English, and French. “We would love to create connections with schools and foundations in the United States to provide ‘The Rwanda Bookmobile’ with recommended reading lists, books, and financial donations as well as volunteers to work on the bus,” he explained. The Rwanda Bookmobile will serve a small group of communities in a pilot program and depending upon their experience, will either grow into a fleet of vehicles or will help build up regional and community libraries throughout Rwanda.  
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