On Friday 11 December, the international NGO iCompassion organized a charity dinner in Brussels together with former MEP Frank Schwalba-Hoth, in support for children who live in orphanages in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. The event gathered 100 attendees and a documentary movie about an orphanage in Kigali was presented. Funds were raised by auctioning off African contemporary art and the proceeds will be donated to provide better education and living conditions for orphans in Kigali.
iCompassion was founded by Alison Kaneza and Rui Yan.
Ms. Yan comes from the city of Ürümqi in China and has extensive international experience having worked and studied in the United States, Belgium, France, Hungary, Switzerland and China. She graduated from Xi’an International Studies University and has worked in both the public and private sector, including UNESCO and the EU-China Business Association. She currently also advises on large international M&A deals.
Yan is also a brave colon cancer survivor, which she explains was part of the motivation to co-found iCompassion. “Cancer made me learn to live for the moment and try to help and do something good in this beautiful world,” Yan told reporters.
She added, “When most of us are living comfortable, safe and financially stable lives, we often forget how unpredictable life can actually be, which makes us take things for granted and only care about ourselves, as if we are going to live forever.”
In Brussels Yan met Alison Kaneza, a Belgian with Burundian royal origins, with whom she teamed up to create iCompassion, the aim of which is to help vulnerable children and youths in the less developed parts of the world through concrete actions.
Born in a well-off family in Burundi, Kaneza realised at a very young age that there were people around her who were not as lucky as her.
“I used to steal food from my mother’s kitchen and brought it to those in need,” Kaneza explained. As she grew up and moved abroad, she stayed in touch with many children in difficult situations and constantly went back to visit them.
The two founders of iCompassion now plan to organize more international actions not just for Africa, but in Asia as well, in order to work towards a better future for vulnerable children and youth around the world.
The Brussels Times