Hope Made Real Growth and Reflections by Carol Falke
Having been to Rwanda each year for the past 6 years, I wanted to share my reflections about all the changes and accomplishments from last March to my visit this March.
Before going I knew Arlene had many new things in the works, construction of three classrooms, an addition to the dining hall, new sewing students, a librarian, a teacher resource room, daycare, and outreach to new moms in the community. It’s one thing to read about it but another to actually see everything in action. To see the many hands working together to serve this ministry.
Urukundo Children’s Home
The Children’s Home welcomed two girls this year, Chantel 15 and Levine 9. Both girls were quiet when we arrived but by the time we left there were smiles and hugs all around. Urukundo provides a safe, loving home sharing the blessings of being a family.
Our littlest ones have new friends to play with as our daycare is up and running. Children of teachers and staff come as well as a new resident to Rwanda…a mom and her two boys from England. What fun the mamas and children have as they share across cultures.
The school is growing and having a huge impact on families in the community. One father, a judge, moved his 3 children from a private school after visiting our school. His main reasons were the excellent English classes, creative teaching, a LIBRARY, music, cultural opportunities and lunch each day. Other parents shared a similar affinity for the school.
The library has been growing and now has a full-time librarian, Irene. He provides resources for the teachers and storytelling for the children. As we add older grades, research will be a part of their education. Creating a place where kids love to read and learn is something few schools in Rwanda offer. Plans are being made for an addition allowing for study space.
Teacher Resource Room
With the hiring of more teachers we needed a quiet welcoming place for them to plan, grade and work on curriculum. One of the classrooms, not yet needed, was turned into a teacher resource room. Each teacher has a small desk, while shelves are organized with student school supplies, teacher’s supplies and art materials. This is a great addition to the school.
Learning about Rwandan traditions and culture has been essential to the curriculum. Music includes singing, traditional dance and even lessons on violin and other instruments. To spark our students’ curiosity a student orchestra from Kigali came and performed outside. Several of our students played their violins, for the orchestra, which provided practice for an upcoming competition.
Music instructors come weekly. While I was there several 4th graders were selected to compete in Rwanda dancing and performance against 7 other school groups. Urukundo came in 1st!!! Another competition was a poetry reading. Harmony, a 4th grader, presented a poem, Dusakaze Umucow Amahoro, “Spread a Culture of Peace” and came in 1st. Students are learning, excelling and becoming leaders.
Sports is also important especially football, soccer. Our girls team and boys team played another local school and won! How exciting it was as the entire school of over 400 were cheering on their teams to a win.
A new benefit for our students is the lunch program. Currently 110 students pay 45 cents for a nutritious lunch, which could be their most important meal of the day. To accommodate all the children, teachers and visitors an addition was made to the dining room. This is community.
Last year 6 students graduated from the training program. In January eleven students, 14 to 30 years old began the program. They will gain skills to help them support themselves now and their families in the future. Many shared, “It gives me value”. Besides Theresa and Desire, a third instructor, Redemption was added to teach and sew. Solange was hired to make school sweaters on the new knitting machine. Our reputation is spreading leading to special orders for school uniforms, clothing and traditional dress.
Community Outreach to Vulnerable New Moms
This year teams are bringing knit layette items as well as many baby clothes. But….what is new is having the opportunity to meet with new moms in desperate need of things for their babies. We packed diapers, baby hats, washcloths, blankets and onesies and took them to a clinic and a hospital. The need is great so the outreach will continue.
Thank you to everyone that has made a monetary donation, a donation of items for the children and school, for all your prayers and for all your blessings. Urukundo would not be what it is today without the many people that love and pray for this ministry. People that share in the joys and tough times. And most of all those whose hearts are with Mama Arlene every day. Through Christ all things are possible!!!!
In closing, I leave you with this thought:
The vulnerable children of Rwanda and the world.
Opportunity is what they need. Your love. Their lives, Our world, You can make a difference.
Your most appreciated gift can be sent to the address below or use the Donate button at the upper right-hand corner of the screen:
Hope Made Real
PO Box 3222
Urukundo Foundation/Hope Made Real
Help make their world a better place.