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Mar 26, 2020

In Solidarity

Guillene
Guillene

We are in uncharted waters. COVID-19 is now present in nearly every country in the world. It has taken thousands of lives and now threatens millions of livelihoods. And it will require bold individual and collective actions to defeat.
Everyday chores, like buying food, present a challenge, and even the near future is filled with unknowns. This is life in the middle of a pandemic.

Amidst this crisis, we continue working with our families in Rwanda while they are presently in a country-wide shut down. On March 12th we provided money for all our families to purchase thermometers, hand soap and sanitizer. We wanted to act quickly before supplies started to dwindle as there were no cases in their country. Yet now as their confirmed cases rises daily, the government has set strict standards for all citizens to stay home, businesses are closed, schools are closed, flights are cancelled in and out of Rwanda and fines will be placed on those who don’t obey the orders.

This has placed a hardship on all Rwanda’s citizens, most of whom live in poverty and now have no ability to earn income at all. As founder, I had to postpone my April trip to Rwanda. This trip is vital to our mission for both social encouragement and implementation of furthering their work goals. With the trip postponed, we will continue our support and guidance as our families wait out the pandemic. Our focus in this time is to provide any medical needs to help them, and we will continue to fund the school fees as soon as the children return to school. Although all the children in our education program are home during the stay at home order, they will return to their studies after the crisis passes.

Above is Guillene, the newest child to be accepted into our education program. I have known her and her mum since 2015. The family has fallen on hard times as both parents cannot find work. Guillene is a very bright young girl with very good marks. Her mom, Micheline, is an accomplished seamstress and we hire her each year to sew products for the Umva project. Micheline received a grant to attend tourism school in Kigali and we are helping with her weekly transportation fees this year until she graduates. Unfortunately, the school is closed during the pandemic and running the course online. Micheline does not own a computer. She is missing the online studies and falling behind. We are trying to find a way to help with this issue.

Please accept our heartfelt thanks for your continued support, even in this time of financial uncertainty. Both one time and recurring monthly donations are so vital for keeping the wheels of progress turning for our mission! Together we are bringing hope, stability and peace to Rwandan families who truly have no other options.

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Jan 15, 2020

Food For Thought

Vania 2014 (far left)
Vania 2014 (far left)

In 2014, when we began the education support program for children in Rwanda there was little to no earned income coming into the family homes. The children had missed semesters and even years of attending school due to their guardians inability to afford the school fees. The ability to buy enough food to feed their children two meals a day was scarce and what food they did eat lacked energy building ingredients. Prolonged hunger prohibits rational thought and sevely affects mental well-being.

This was the case for Vania. I met her in 2014 at her home in the Northern Region of Rwanda. She was an 11 year-old bright eyed girl with a beautiful smile. We receive report cards for all the children in our program to follow their progress, but Vania's grades were struggling to meet the 40% mark (80% being the best). However, in the last few years, as the women earn income from the Umva dyeing project, and are not having the financial burden of paying the school fees there is now more income for food and other necessities. Always, food and water are at the heart of a healthy mind and body.

In Rwanda, at the end of Primary School (grade 8) students have to take and successfully pass National Exams in order to attend Secondary School (grades 9-12). We received Vania's marks this month and she not only passed the exams but did them very well. Her best subject was English with a 2 (1 being best out of 10) but all the marks were 6 or less. She has been assigned to attend a boarding school in Rwanda where she will stay and study except for the holidays. We are so proud of Vania!

As our families work and earn income the children are thriving rather than barely surviving. This is how we make a difference directly where the need is so great.

Vania is thriving
Vania is thriving

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Nov 8, 2019

The Gift of Water

Mom's kitchen
Mom's kitchen

Paccy's mother lives in the Northeastern Province of Rwanda in a rudimentary home with an outdoor kitchen and latrine. Paccy used to fetch water for her 80 year old mother from the nearest well, nearly an hour's walk roundtrip, but she now works and lives too far away to do so.

After scraping together enough money to attend university, Paccy graduated from INES in 2016 and obtained a job in 2018 as a medical lab technician - a triumph - but it required her to move over 4 hours away. Paccy sends much of her monthly income to her mom to help with food and other expenses but cannot afford to pay someone to fetch her water.

I met with Paccy in April 2019 during my annual visit to Rwanda and asked about her mom's welfare. She told me about the difficulties her mom was having with no water. Paccy is incredibly shy; we converse very slowly due to our language challenges. I told her we would try to raise money to install a rainwater collection system for her mom. Her eyes welled up, she lowered her head, and tears began to fall onto her lap. We were silent for several moments. When she finally brought her head back up she smiled, I smiled, and the dream was in motion.

By August Rwanda-one4one was able to fund the water system. Paccy managed the project, sending images and receipts as the work progressed. We paid for a 500 liter tank, a cement platform, piping, and a secure brick enclosure. Rain from the roof flows via a gutter to the tank. Last week we received this message and these photos from Paccy:

She told me to tell you that you did a great thing in her life even in our family.
God bless you so much!!!  She missed manner to thank you!!! But God will give his eternal life and too much blessings at this earth.
This is the power of Rwanda one-4-one. We make personal connections with the families we serve and identify opportunities to help them solve intractable challenges, enabling them to be more independent.
Mom at her water tank
Mom at her water tank
Paccy and her Mom
Paccy and her Mom
Brick structure holds the water tank next to house
Brick structure holds the water tank next to house

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