Acts of Gratitude was officially founded on May 8, 2011.
Its founder, MUTONI Jean d’Amour had been assisted by many people and organizations throughout his life, and in 2009 a seed was planted to start an organization of his own. It all started with a challenging question that was put to him: “Can’t you now rely on yourselves?”
In 2007, Jean d’Amour was part of a group of vulnerable students at Kigali Health Institute (now, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda) and Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (now, College of Science and Technology, University of Rwanda). During holidays, these students stayed on campus as they had nowhere to call home. In 2009, Jean d’Amour was voted the coordinator of that group where he advocated and sought assistance for its members. As did his predecessors, he approached donors--government, nonprofits, individuals, etc.--to request food, hygiene materials and aid. Living accommodations were easily provided by the school’s administration but this time all other donors refused to give their usual assistance. One such donor, an officer at a governmental institution in Kigali, asked Jean d’Amour, “Can’t you now rely on yourselves?” He went on, ”It’s now been more than ten years since we started supporting your group. Don’t you have senior brothers and sisters who graduated and are earning something which would allow them to give back to a cause they understand better that anyone else? So that you and others can follow their example in the future, my friend, I advise you and your people to think this way. Good luck,” he concluded. Jean d’Amour then went back to school and called a board meeting. The meeting theme and only item on the agenda was the question that had been posed to him: “can’t you now rely on yourselves?” As a result, alumni (graduates of the program) were contacted for contributions. Though some welcomed the proposal, most alumni rejected the request, as did former board members. Jean d’Amour and his team were told not to rely on former members as they were preoccupied with their own lives.
As the board started looking for other options, they fortunately found a society of KHI employees who agreed to deduct something from their salaries to finance food and hygiene materials for the students. The generosity of KHI employees was proof that individuals can and will choose to give back to their communities.
Following the KHI employees’ example, Jean d’Amour graduated and began building an organization founded on the spirit of giving back. On May 8, 2011, he invited 12 friends of his to a meeting where he presented his proposal for the organization. That same day Saved to Save Initiative (S2SI) was founded with the motto “everyone can help”. In December 2011, the organization’s name changed to Acts of Gratitude (AOG). Acts of Gratitude aims to foster the culture of giving back through exposing, educating, and empowering grateful people in order to save more vulnerable citizens and build a community of socially responsible leaders, entrepreneurs and volunteers for Rwanda. AOG is a community of grateful people who have been saved by family, friends, nonprofit organizations and governmental institutions. AOGers are committed to repaying these debts of gratitutude through active community involvement and sharing the burden of those in need.
AOGers believe that:
ACTS OF GRATITUDE, as an organization that accepts all people who are looking for an opportunity to give back, doors are open wide for all of you who are interested in joining our community today! All can join because everyone can help.