ASFA Physiotherapy Centre 2015-2020


A new clinic…

Lead Physiotherapist, Diogene Murwanshyaka,  worked alongside a small team at ASFA Physiotherapy Centre to provide a new physio service, together with one physio assistant and five carers. They cared for 10-12 paediatric inpatients and a small number of adult outpatients from a shared hall, one dormitory and one consultation room but it was really cramped….

The centre treated (and still treats!) children with developmental delays and disabilities including cerebral palsy, club foot, Down’s Syndrome, genu valgum, autism, club foot, trauma, cerebral malaria and many congenital syndromes.  

Hunt Physiotherapy, founded by Kate Hunt, was accredited by the Rwandan Allied Health Professionals Council in May 2018 as an official provider of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Together with local courses,  ASFA Physio staff were therefore well placed to stay at the forefront of their field with annual CPD lectures by Hunt Physiotherapy, despite the centres remote location. 

There was a huge demand for physiotherapy services in the Muganza area and we were bursting at the seams. With just one small consultation room and shared use of a multi-purpose hall conditions were better than nothing but less than ideal!  

We started construction in September 2019 to build a new, dedicated physiotherapy and rehabilitation centre for this community. Please read ASFA Future to learn more about our new building and future plans and follow us on Instagram for regular project updates. Thank you!

ASFA Physio is a place where…

The physio team provide full-time treatment and care for a number of paediatric inpatients on a short-term basis

Parents learn to incorporate the practice of new skills into everyday life

Carers and parents are taught ‘hands on’ tools to help their children develop and achieve their potential

The needs of the whole person are considered including communication, social and physical skills

Children and adults are actively involved with their own learning

 We know that, with the right help, people can achieve wonderful things. This message is the foundation of everything we do at ASFA

Physio play therapy

ASFA is the only centre (we think!) in Rwanda that provides physiotherapy treatment through play. Focusing on developing gross motor skills such as rolling, sitting, crawling, kneeling, standing and walking, the aim is to facilitate each patient’s normal development and independence.

A stimulating environment is created with toys and therapy equipment and different learning activities are devised to meet the treatment needs of each child. Supporting parents and carers to carry on play therapy principles at home is a vital part of what we do as well as building a supportive network for families of disabled children.

Please click on our case histories to learn about some life-changing results.

ASFA’s projects and facilities

Inpatient accommodation

For those travelling from remote villages for treatment and medical assistance, ASFA provides accommodation for inpatients and our full-time carers. 

Sewing courses

ASFA runs year-long sewing courses to give young women the chance to learn a skill and, ultimately, the ability to earn a living.

To date, 10 women have graduated from the programme. Of these, five now own their own sewing machine and work full time, one hires a machine when she has freelance work and four work on a freelance basis and use the ASFA machines when needed. 

ASFA currently has five students doing the course and demand for places is high. Having started life on the verandah at ASFA, the course has now moved to a dedicated space close to the Muganza high street where the students can sell their products and services more easily.

It costs approximately £80 to buy a sewing machine which allows a graduate to be income generating immediately.


ASFA grows crops including bananas, avocados, strawberries, beans, cabbages, potatoes, sweet potatoes and the most delicious passion fruit in the surrounding fields.

It costs approximately £5 to buy a selection of seeds to cultivate.

Staff and community education classes

Malnutrition has long been a pressing issue in Rwanda. ASFA runs classes on how to sow crops more efficiently and how to cook to maximise nutritional value. 

Continued Professional Development and Safeguarding (Child Protection) courses

Visiting UK teachers and physios have run annual CPD sessions since 2014 and our UK physio’s became accredited providers to the Rwandan Allied Health Professions Council in May 2018.

ASFA Physio staff hold safeguarding (child protection) sessions every month and the topic is on the agenda at weekly staff meetings.

Animal husbandry programme

Local residents are given one pig, commit to pass on the first female offspring from their animal to another local family and agree to provide training for its care. So far, 11 families have benefitted from the programme with families with disabled children registered at ASFA being given preference. Farmers who complete the training successfully are often able to provide better nutrition for their families, take out basic health insurance, send their children to school, raise income from produce and often buy further livestock.

(This program is currently on hold due to the construction of ASFA Physio).

50 chickens lay eggs to help feed ASFA staff and inpatients. As with the milk, excess eggs are sold at market to generate income.

It costs approximately £10 to buy a chicken.

Guest accommodation and catering

ASFA has four guest bedrooms with ensuite facilities and full board for visitors. This is an income-generating project and is available to volunteers, NGO workers and visitors to the area. 

Cultivation of fruit and vegetables and basic animal husbandry (pigs, cows and chickens) also contribute to the project’s sustainability with excess produce sold in the local community.

It costs approximately £40 to buy a pig.

In addition to the pig scheme, ASFA currently has six dairy cows whose milk is given to inpatients. Excess milk is sold at market to generate income and any by-products used as compost used to help cultivate the crops.

It costs approximately £500 to buy a cow.

ASFA’s large multi-purpose hall can be hired out for events, with income earned from catering services.

Troy Aitken

Founder, Chairman & Trustee
Troy is an experienced project manager who has had a love affair with Africa since 1999 when he worked at a primary school in South Africa. In 2006 he started...

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working with Oasis Africa in Kenya and the following year spent four months in Rwanda as a project manager building eight classrooms in Nyaruguru District, Southern Province.

“Since volunteering in Rwanda many years ago I’ve been passionate about Africa. I founded Make A Difference 4 Africa with the aim of making a real difference to people’s lives through education and healthcare projects. I live by the mantra 'Be the change you want to see in the world’."

Jette Jakobsen

Consultant Physiotherapist
Jette holds a Graduate Diploma in Physiotherapy from University College Lillebaelt in Denmark. She has over 25 years’ experience and works as a paediatric...

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physiotherapist at Achieving for Children where she is part of the Integrated Service for Disabled Children.

Jette has visited Rwanda a number of times and her paediatric expertise has been instrumental in establishing ASFA. Her dedication and can-do attitude are inspirational and there is nothing she can’t do with duct tape!

“The ASFA Physiotherapy Centre is so much more than ‘just’ a centre that provides treatment; it has become a unique hub where children with disabilities and their families can get advice, support and meet families with similar needs. It is a place that enables and opens up possibilities of independence, inclusion and improved quality of life.”

Jacinta Darrant

 HR & Communications Advisor

Jacinta is originally from Rwanda but now is a full-time mum living in the UK. Her dream is to make a difference to children's lives by meeting their educational and medical needs. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Human Resources from Middlesex University.

“It’s amazing to see how a small change can create a big impact to an individual and to the community as a whole.” From teaching English, sewing, carpentry, bricklaying, cookery and physiotherapy ...the list goes on! Thanks to MAD 4 Africa these programmes have made huge impacts on people’s lives! We are a small team with big dreams and I’m so proud to be part of it”.

Alison Hawksley

Chief Operating Officer & Trustee
Alison worked in commercial property before venturing into the entrepreneurial world as a co-owner of Lush, Steamcream and Balmonds skincare brands.

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One of her most rewarding jobs, however, was working with a child with learning differences at Barnes Primary School. It was here that she first became inspired to set up a partnership in 2009 with a school in Rwanda and help establish ASFA so that children in Rwanda with learning differences could reach their potential too.

“On my first visit to Rwanda in 2008, I was moved by the children’s industriousness, resilience, zest to learn and their ambition to achieve. I felt we in England had much to learn. I love that when two communities in different cultural settings plant the seeds of a vision together, something truly spectacular can grow and have lifelong benefits for many people.”

Margo Rodrigo

Educational Adviser
Margo is a Year 6 teacher at Barnes Primary School, a Leader for Learning and a member of the School’s Leadership Team.

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Margo has over 20 years experience in both the state and independent sectors and is also involved in working with teachers from other schools through Richmond Borough’s school partnerships programme. She has made numerous visits to Rusuzumiro Primary School and has played a lead role in fundraising, teacher training and strengthening school partnership link.

“I have had the privilege of visiting Rwanda on two separate occasions and in July 2018 I will be making my third visit. It has been a remarkable experience being part of this positive partnership whereby both schools - Barnes Primary and Rusuzumiro Primary - can learn about each other's education systems and cultural differences. Working together and learning from each other are the first steps to help 'Make a Difference' for people within the school and wider communities.”

Kate Hunt

Consultant Physiotherapist & Trustee
Kate holds a Graduate Diploma in Physiotherapy from King’s College London and an MSc from the University of Surrey in Counselling and Psychotherapy

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She runs her own practice in London, Hunt Physiotherapy,  where she provides a full musculoskeletal physiotherapy service to employees at The Telegraph and News UK newspaper groups. She has a specialist interest and expertise in the treatment of work-related upper limb and spinal disorders, posture and postural-related problems and is an expert in core stability training. Hunt Physiotherapy was accredited by the Rwandan Allied Health Professionals Council in May 2018 as an official provider of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Kate also holds a Foundation Degree in art and manages to combine her love of physiotherapy and art wherever she goes. Kate first visited Rwanda in 2014 to help train two newly qualified Rwandan physiotherapists and has been hooked ever since.

“Even with 31 years’ experience as a physio in the UK, it still amazed me, on my first trip to Rwanda, to see the impact physiotherapy can have. The simplest of interventions based on clear clinical reasoning and individual treatment planning can have the most incredible results and truly ‘'Make a [huge] Difference’ in the life of a patient. We have seen first hand how our physiotherapy input has helped a child to walk unaided, meaning they have been able to attend mainstream school for the first time.”

Richard Cooney

Treasurer & Trustee 

Richard is a Chartered Accountant with over 10 years experience in financial services. He  holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Otago, New Zealand and first  visited Rwanda in February 2020 to see the charity’s work first hand.

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What stuck with me most from visiting Rwanda was the pure joy and appreciation that I felt from the children.  Their smiles were infectious and I saw first-hand the life changing impact the charity was making.”

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UK registered charity number: 1127976