It is a normal tradition which has carried through the last century for groups of people with disabilities to form guilds or organizations where they could meet, discuss their problems and their experiences and seek solutions where possible. This tradition was also introduced in Africa and through such organizations people with disabilities have been able to place for their rights and for recognition as equal citizens with the rest of society. It is in this way that the Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB) was formed.
Attention to people with disabilities in Rwanda was brought to the fore by the establishment of the HVP Gatagara centre which was established by a catholic priest father Joseph Frepond in 1962. When a number of people with disabilities had completed their studies and were finding it hard to gain employment an association was established, Association Generale des Handicapes au Rwanda (AGHR) to help create employment for some of them. However, AGHR could do little to provide employment, training or self employment for people with visual employment. That is why it was necessary and a very welcome idea to have an organization of people with visual impairment.
Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB) is a non-profit making organization established in August 1994, one month after the end of the Genocide against the Tutsi. It was launched in the official Gazette in March 1995. RUB is dedicated to the improvement of the living conditions of blind people in Rwanda. Currently Rwanda Union of the Blind has 54 well-established branches operating in 27 out of the 30 districts of the country. It has about 2500 members.
Thought it’s an important to become a member of RUB, it is not an obligation. It is a self-willing. All these branches, including its headquarter in Kigali City, Nyarugenge District in Muhima, are administered by visually impaired people themselves and focus mainly on advocacy to improve the lives of people with visual impairment from the grassroots.
The organization works towards the improvement of the situation of blind people through education and rehabilitation to facilitate meaningful equality and integration.
RUB is a member of the national Union of Disabilities organizations of Rwanda (NUDOR). It is also affiliated to the African Union of the Blind (AFUB) and the World Blind Union (WBU).