Recent Happenings

Several transitions have occurred recently with Urugo Care Rwanda and I wanted to share some of those updates. A little while ago, we announced that I (Hannah) would be moving back to the U.S. while continuing in the position of Interim Executive Director for UCR. The move has happened!!

I arrived back in the U.S. about 2.5 weeks ago and have been splitting time between my parents' house and sister's house and trying to figure out next steps. I'm thankful that the transition has not been too shocking and things are falling into place. There are still some pieces of additional work to figure out as well as buying a car, etc., but I am trusting those things to come in the right time and way.

I am also getting into a new routine and rhythm of overseeing the work of UCR from a distance. We have placed a bit more responsibility for the daily operations in the hands of our Rwandan staff, Bosco and Jean Claude. Bosco is our Country Representative and continuing to guide the many tasks that need to be completed for things to continue in a good way. Jean Claude is a new, part-time hire for UCR as we hope that he will be able to contribute to the mission and goals in building relationships with our families and students. Jean Claude has a passion for ministry and encouragement and I'm sure that his gifts will be used well in this new position. Please watch his introduction video below (click on the photo to go to the video link).

Introducing our new Ministry Assistant: Jean Claude Nahishakiye

We are excited for this new arrangement and hopeful that we will fulfill our commitment to the families and students in the best way possible. Thank you for your continued interest and support!

Hannah Ingram
Interim Executive Director
Urugo Care Rwanda

Better Together

Community is very important in Rwanda both for the social benefits and also for the development of the country. Many aspects of governance, improvement, and security are built upon the foundation of relationships between neighbors. It is clear that Rwandans are focused on growing and developing through means that benefit more than just the individual, bringing the neighbor along, too.

Each village in Rwanda elects local leaders for these main positions: chief, security, development, social affairs, and communication/information. There are additional leaders in sub-positions focused on different issues or categories of village people (youth, women, etc.). Most of these are voluntary positions and a way to serve others in the village. These leaders help to organize other citizens for gatherings of celebration and also when there are issues that need to be addressed.

On the last Saturday of each month, an activity called “umuganda” occurs where citizens are required to join in community work with their neighbors, doing projects that often benefit many including such things as repairing roads, developing erosion control, planting trees, cleaning the streets, or building a house for a vulnerable person. After the shared work in the morning hours, the village gathers in the early afternoon for a meeting with the leaders where they can share important information that needs to be distributed from upper levels of government as well as spend time mediating conflicts or difficult situations between neighbors.

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From the youth to the older people, gathering together is important for sharing values and instruction. There are times when people come together to give an opportunity for the older ones to teach the younger ones values about working, depending on yourself and not begging, cleanliness that starts with the individual, and other good behavior. They can also share stories and proverbs that have been passed down through generations that can instruct and give important lessons.

The women in a village meet sometimes to support each other and know where there are problems and when to help. They can teach the young women how to behave well, keep a household clean, receive visitors and practice hospitality…and many other things like finding a good husband! The leader will also follow-up on the health of women especially those who are pregnant, making sure they are staying healthy and supported. This gathering of women encourages them to be open and honest.

These connections within a community are also needed for development and employment opportunities. Saving cooperatives are often created among trusted neighbors where they can bring their money together in a way that all will benefit. They can only do this well when there are people of the same spirit and who already have a foundation of friendship and trust.

All of these are examples of how important community is in Rwanda. In knowing each other and how each lives their daily life, they are able to help each other in finding solutions to problems and creating more security for all. It is significant that this begins at the local village level and promotes involvement through self-motivation. Neighbors organize themselves for local improvements and have pride in what they are able to build together. They become responsible for protecting their own security. They encourage one another to not wait for someone to come from far away to make things better but strive to make their own efforts for improvement…together as a community.

Hannah Ingram
Interim Executive Director & Program Director
Urugo Care Rwanda

12 New Graduates!

We recently celebrated with 12 of our students who finished their secondary or vocational school training at the end of 2018. These students have worked hard during their time in school and this is a great accomplishment to finish and pass their national exams. And so we celebrate!

We gathered all of the families and students currently in our program as well as some local village leaders to join in the festivities. The graduates were decked out in caps and gowns and entered the gathering with a processional march to their seats of honor at the front of the room. After the normal greetings, the graduates were offered time to share testimony of what the day and the accomplishment meant to them. A few students welcomed this opportunity to offer their thanks as they likely would not be standing as graduates without the generous support of our donors. They also expressed their gratitude for what they have learned from various counseling, guidance, or visitation sessions through the years and how they have already been able to and also plan to apply those things learned in their lives.

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A guest speaker come to impart an encouraging message and the local leaders were also given a few minutes to challenge the students and parents. The gathering culminated in handing each graduate a certificate of recognition of their accomplishment from our program…and then taking lots of photos! Finally, we enjoyed Fanta (soda) and amandazi (bread) for everyone at the gathering and a special lunch at a local restaurant for the graduates and their parents.

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These annual graduation celebrations are always an important time to commemorate the efforts of the students who are finishing and encourage the younger ones to strive towards the goal of their own graduation. It is also a hopeful time—seeing the potential in these graduates and anticipating all that they will continue to accomplish with the gifts and knowledge they possess.

Hannah Ingram
Interim Executive Director & Program Director
Urugo Care Rwanda

Remembering 25 Years

Rwanda, a country of beautiful, rolling, green hills and people who prize hospitality and find joy in the simplicity of daily life, is constantly changing and developing and looking toward a brighter future. This brightness is seen in contrast to some darkness in the country’s history not so long ago. Rwanda is currently in a period of commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi people that occurred 25 years ago…with these days focused on remembering those whose lives were lost and committing to never again allow such hatred and violence to grow in the hearts and minds of people.

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On April 7, 1994, a tragic genocide was initiated targeting one people group (Tutsi) with the killing carried out by the other (Hutu). With guidance from Hutu leaders within the government, neighbors and even family members were encouraged to murder those close to them who were Tutsi. This unthinkable killing continued for 100 days and caused more than one million Tutsi deaths. There were heroes and there were perpetrators but all were Rwandan. Thankfully, there was an end to this horror though some deep effects are still felt today.

With a new government in power in these past 25 years, the focus has been on unifying the Rwandan people and bringing reconciliation and healing. There has been so much forgiveness and restoration that will only help this country to move forward towards their brighter future…together. Rwandans are proud of their culture and the ways they are working to build this nation…remembering what has come before but not dwelling on that darkness. Instead, it is a motivating force for growth and resiliency and hope for the days to come.

Several of the secondary students sponsored by Urugo Care Rwanda are actively involved in clubs at school that are focused on promoting this unity and peace within the country. They also teach and encourage fellow students to fight against any genocide ideology that may still be simmering. These students are leading the way in claiming a brighter future.

Remember—unite—renew.

Photos of some of the children who were killed in the Genocide.

Photos of some of the children who were killed in the Genocide.

The names of some of those who were killed and now laid to rest in mass graves at the Genocide Memorial in Kigali.

The names of some of those who were killed and now laid to rest in mass graves at the Genocide Memorial in Kigali.

Mass graves at the Genocide Memorial in Kigali holding about 250,000 of the more than 1,000,000 people killed during the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.

Mass graves at the Genocide Memorial in Kigali holding about 250,000 of the more than 1,000,000 people killed during the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994.

In closing, here are some remarks shared by President Paul Kagame at the commemoration ceremony last Sunday: “Rwanda became a family, once again. The arms of our people, intertwined, constitute the pillars of our nation. We hold each other up. Our bodies and minds bear amputations and scars, but none of us is alone. Together, we have woven the tattered threads of our unity into a new tapestry. … Our nation has turned a corner. Fear and anger have been replaced by the energy and purpose that drives us forward, young and old. … We Rwandans have granted ourselves a new beginning. We exist in a state of permanent commemoration, every day, in all that we do, in order to remain faithful to that choice.”

Hannah Ingram
Program Director
Urugo Care Rwanda

Single parent family saves enough money for a store and a house

Mama Parfait is a single mother (of Parfait, Jules, and Liza) and has been renting one small room for the past 10 years as their home. Prior to this year, Parfait was actually staying elsewhere with an aunt and attending school there so there was less of a burden on his mama...but she brought him home to be part of our program, though I'm sure that has also added difficulty for her. She has worked a variety of jobs, mostly with short-term contracts, doing things such as being a construction helper, cooking, and cleaning. Most recently, she had a job cooking for a family but that position ended at the end of August after the employer lost his job.

A few weeks ago, Mama Parfait called our staff Bosco to tell him that she had shifted her family to a new home (still in the village of Akindege) that has two rooms! She invited him to come and visit. When he did, he was pleasantly surprised to see the increased space and that she was using part of the front room as a small boutique (shop) selling some vegetables and other household items. He asked her where she got the money to do this. She replied that two years ago she had a conversation with her kids and discussed how she dreamed they could save some money to be able to one day own their own business. They bought a wooden box that has a slot in the top but no way to open except for breaking. She and the kids all agreed that they would add money to the box each day, even if it meant sacrificing eating or spending money on other needed things. The kids partnered with her in this, adding their own money if they ever received it, and also encouraging her each day to add something to the box, even a small coin. They planned to save money in the box for three years before breaking it. After being sponsored by Urugo Care Rwanda this year, they were able to save even more than before. They decided to break the box after just two years and found it contained about 240,000rwf. This enabled them to rent a larger house and they decided to start a business of having a boutique to sell a variety of things. It is going very well so far and they are hopeful to obtain many customers to keep growing their business. You can see the joy in their faces in the photos below!

Liza and the vegetables!

Liza and the vegetables!

Household items: spices, salt, sugar, pasta, oil, juice, water, toothpicks, soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc. Many important and high-demand items!

Household items: spices, salt, sugar, pasta, oil, juice, water, toothpicks, soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc. Many important and high-demand items!

The happy family team (missing Parfait)!

The happy family team (missing Parfait)!

We have helped them by easing the burden of paying school fees but this family has also done the incredible work of thinking of this plan and being unified and committed to carrying it out...without our help! This is beautiful and exactly what we hope for in walking alongside our families in Rwanda.

Thanks for your sacrifices that encouraged this family as they were making their own sacrifices as we partner with them to meet their full potential!

Hannah Ingram
Program Director

FAMILY PHOTOS!

At the beginning of April when all of the students were home for a break between the first and second trimesters of school, we arranged for a local professional photographer to come and take a photo of each family. The parents and kids were dressed in some of their best duds and ready to pose for the camera! It was a bit tricky gathering everyone together and a few families were missing a person or two, but overall it was a successful endeavor!

Stacks of family photos ready for distribution!

At the beginning of April when all of the students were home for a break between the first and second trimesters of school, we arranged for a local professional photographer to come and take a photo of each family. The parents and kids were dressed in some of their best duds and ready to pose for the camera! It was a bit tricky gathering everyone together and a few families were missing a person or two, but overall it was a successful endeavor!

Hannah Ingram
Program Director
Urugo Care Rwanda

"Thank you for this beautiful photo and the joy it brings to my life. I am glad that when visitors come they will see this photo."  ~Mama Parfait

"Thank you for this beautiful photo and the joy it brings to my life. I am glad that when visitors come they will see this photo." 
~Mama Parfait

NEW BEGINNINGS IN 2018!

IN SESSION!

The new school year has begun in Rwanda! This is an exciting time as many of the students are ready to return to school (or start school) after their long break at the end of the following year. For us, it is a busy time of preparations for our students…both the administrative details but also meeting with the students and encouraging them for the year ahead.

We are focused on working with families to partner with them for the benefit of the whole family. With the changes in our program for this year, we are currently sponsoring 29 primary students. We require these students to attend the local government-funded school: Kamashashi Primary School. We pay school fees, buy two uniforms, and provide school materials (backpacks, notebooks, pens) for each student. These little ones are adorable as they eagerly receive their backpack which is sometimes bigger than they are! We are also providing a weekly portion of igikoma (porridge) for each family with students in primary school (read more about this below).

We are also sponsoring the more advanced students in these same families. We currently have 50 students attending secondary or vocational schools. Most of our students who are in their first three years of secondary school attend the local government-funded school: Camp Kanombe. Other students may have scored well on national exams at the end of primary school or at the end of these first three years in secondary and are assigned to various other schools all over the country. Similar to the primary students, we pay for school fees, buy uniforms, provide school materials (also including math sets, calculators, and periodic tables), give personal items (soap, laundry soap, lotion, toothpaste, sanitary pads), and pay for transportation costs to/from school if they are not attending the local school. For those students in boarding school, we also provide a trunk, sheets, blanket, pillow, mosquito net, towel, and mattress to comfortably stay while they are away from home.

I’m excited to see how these students continue to grow and learn in this new year. We will have challenges along the way that become opportunities for growth and counseling as we strive to invest in their lives beyond simply providing school fees. I’m thankful for these opportunities!


THE BENEFIT OF IGIKOMA

We are excited this year to be able to provide a weekly portion of igikoma (porridge) for the families with students attending primary school. Some of the families that we work with are limited in the number of times that they can cook each day. We hope it will be a benefit for the primary students to consistently be able to have this porridge to nourish them.

Igikoma can be made using a variety of different flours. We are combining a corn flour (kawunga) with another mixture of nutritious flours (maize, soy bean, sorghum) called sosoma, sugar, and powdered milk. Each week, we will order about 23.5 kilograms (about 52 pounds) of these ingredients to mix and then distribute to the families. We are also very excited that we are hiring a mama (Speciose) from one of the families to have a little job of helping us to do the mixing and bagging of the igikoma mix each week.

Speciose mixing the igikoma ingredients...and getting a good arm workout at the same time!

Speciose mixing the igikoma ingredients...and getting a good arm workout at the same time!

Finished project of one week's worth of igikoma ready for distribution!

Finished project of one week's worth of igikoma ready for distribution!


It's Time For a New Name and Logo

After having been called Global Capacity for nine years, our board of directors felt that it was time for a change. We have selected a new name and logo that are more descriptive and representative of our work. We plan to unveil them on February 13. Stay tuned for an exciting video announcement!


Group Trip to Rwanda in August

There has been substantial interest for a group trip to Rwanda this summer. Our Executive Director, Matthew Heinz, will be leading this inaugural trip and you are invited! Details are tentative, but dates would be around August 1-10 with a cost around $2,500 to $3,000 per person. (If you are fundraising, donations can be sent in to Global Capacity for a tax deduction.) The bulk of the time will be spent with the households we support and at some of our students' schools. We will also take time at a home for former street children and enjoy some cultural activities. Information sessions will be offered soon for preliminary information. If you are interested in joining the team, send an email to Matthew.

STORY OF FAMILY #27

This family is new to our sponsorship program this year and we are so glad! Kabaganwa Eugenie is the mama with two daughters: Muhoza Nelly and Mudahogora Henriette. Eugenie’s family is Rwandan but they moved to Burundi (near borders with Rwanda and Tanzania) when there was unrest in Rwanda in the late 1950s. They returned to Rwanda after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis and Eugenie has been renting a house in this local village for the past 20 years. Thankfully, she has a good relationship with her landlord and he gives reasonable increases in rent, though it is still a struggle for her to have enough income for these expenses.

Eugenie is very enterprising and works hard to find work in different areas. Sometimes, she can help with masonry work by carrying materials at a construction site. Other times, she takes some of her income from that work and goes to another nearby town to buy tomatoes to resell at the market. She has also recently been starting to do some buying/selling of rice. She has some familiarity with purchasing rice from Tanzania (neighbor to Rwanda) since she grew up near there. She has been working to find customers near where she lives now that would want large quantities (25kg or more) of rice. We are hoping that this business will continue to grow for her!

When asked what her dream was, she answered “to be a very good businesswoman”. She would also like to be able to own a house to have more security for her family instead of continuing to rent their home. She is very thankful for this first time of having health insurance for the whole family. We are grateful that we can come alongside this mama and her daughters, helping with school fees and other benefits that can encourage them towards fulfilling their dreams!

Thank you for joining us in making dreams in Rwanda come true!

Hannah Ingram
Program Director

STORY OF FAMILY #25

Rukundo Moses is the papa of one of the families we work with here in Rwanda. There are five children in the home that he is currently responsible for: one in secondary school (Muhoza Christophe) and four in primary school. Moses is trained in plumbing and is able to occasionally find part-time jobs to earn some income though it is often not enough to cover the expenses of rent and food for the family. Being a single parent causes some additional struggles as Moses can’t be away from home for long periods of time even if some plumbing jobs are available.

This family rents a home with two bedrooms and a sitting area, tucked into the side of one of the hills with a beautiful view of the valley and hills beyond. Without an indoor kitchen, most of the cooking happens outside (unless it is raining or night time). The children are helpful with many of the household chores as well as focusing on their schoolwork.

When asked about his dream for the future, Moses responded “for the kids to keep studying and reach a different place in their future”. He has great hope for this! As we continue to partner with this family, it is a gift to be able to encourage Moses and be a part of the work that he is doing to accomplish this dream for his family.

Thank you for joining us in making dreams in Rwanda come true!

Hannah Ingram
Program Director

176 Directly-Impacted Rwandans

This past Friday night we had our annual fundraising event, Room For Dessert. The goal for the evening was to raise $15,000 to go towards additions to our program in 2018. 

It was apparent that our guests grabbed hold of the impact we hope to make in Rwanda next year! We are overwhelmed and extremely grateful for their generosity! As of right now, we have raised $7,000 over our goal! 

We shared that our plans for 2018 will directly impact 176 individuals, with scholarships or health insurance. Due to the kindness of our guests and others, that WILL happen!

We are so excited for the three changes to our program in 2018! First of all, we will be providing 34 scholarships for primary school! We'll support the younger brothers and sisters of our students. We love the chance to be able to form a relationship with kids when they are young and continue that guidance well into high school. We'll be providing some of the same benefits as our other scholarships - school fees, school materials, health insurance, uniforms, and igikoma. Igikoma is a porridge-like breakfast that each of our kids will get every day before school. This meal might be only one of two the kids will have the entire day. Our Primary school scholarships cost $85/year.

Secondly, we will be adding a couple of Secondary and Vocational School scholarships to our program, bringing that total to 50 kids in Secondary or Vocational School. Our Secondary/Vocational school scholarships cost $400/year or $33/month.

We will also be providing health insurance to all of our students' family members, an estimation of 92 individuals! Health insurance for one individual costs $4/year. 

CLICK HERE TO BE INVOLVED!