General

Sports at Urukundo

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We are honoring the martial arts this month.

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Our karate kids are looking good.

On my right is Eugene, Urukundo’s farm manager and instructor for the karate students.

Black belts are hard to earn. From our karate school, we have eight. I have yet to even be given the proper clothes so I have no belt.

What makes P6 boys happy? Of course, a gift of much needed sports balls. These arrived and are so appreciated.

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We are grateful.

Volleyball, basketball and soccer balls.

Special Notice

On March 15, 2019, I will arrive in the USA. I am looking forward to spring in Pennsylvania.

March, April and May are special months as it is a time of renewal after a long winter.

This visit is basically for visiting Urukundo and personal friends and my family as well as for telling the continuing story of Urukundo Foundation and encouraging others to become part of our support system for this mission.

My home base will be Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with my daughter, Dr. Patricia Brown.

I hope to see many of you during the two and a half months I will be home in the USA.

More details as plans continue to progress.

Good news

Starting the new year, nine of our children remain in our home.

Three of them -- Claude, Aline and Luki -- are waiting for their national exam results and then will be going to secondary boarding school. They will return to Urukundo for school holidays. As is normal, we will share them with their families.

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Claude, Aline and Luki.

David has been given permission from his foster family to stay home with us and attend Primary 6 here rather than disrupt his education in the last year of primary.

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Of the children who have moved on to other families Jacob, Prince, Kevine, Banita and possible Rebekah will live close enough to be students at Urukundo Learning Center.

Much ado about buses

In 2017, Urukundo purchased its first bus. We had money for only a small bus.

It has been our policy to purchase only what we have funding to pay for. We purchased this little bus (minibus).

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Then we were able to purchase a big bus. With the big bus plus the minibus, we are able to plan field trips, sports events and special outings for our school children and staff.

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A third bus was needed.

The news just got better.

Thanks to Rotary Club of Forest Hills, Pennsylvania, USA, and The Rotary Club of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, USA, funding has arrived to purchase another big bus.

Starting the school year in 2019, we will have a minibus and two big buses for transporting our children. The buses also are a source of revenue as rentals on weekends.

The new bus is now in the garage being painted, and we are in the process of hiring another driver. It will be in service for start of school on Jan. 14, 2019.

The parking space at the school for the new bus will have a plaque saying, "In memorandum of Tom Nunnally, donated by the Rotary Clubs of Forest Hills and Willkinsburg, Pa.”

Special staff event

A special event in 2018 was for the Urukundo Village support staff. This included office staff, home mamas, kitchen staff, farmers, guards and cleaners. Two big buses were needed for the trip to the King’s Palace in Nyanza and dinner after the tour. This was the first time for many of the staff to visit this wonderful part of their history.

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Special dancing cows at the palace.

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October newsletter

October was a very busy time for Urukundo. Before I tell you about the month, I’d like to share an announcement.

I am planning to come to the USA in late March and stay through April and May.

I hope to visit many of you while I am there.

If you would be interested in hosting me during that time, please get in touch with my daughter, Patricia Brown, pdbrown@spiritworks.org or phone 1 (412) 999-1912. ‬Please also copy me arlene@hopemadereal.org.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you.

Dreams do come true

In Divine’s words:


"Dreams do come true! (Like Mama Arlene Brown always says). Today one of my dreams came true. It was an honor to meet Mbabazi Esther, Rwanda’s first female pilot). She’s always been my idol. I have always looked up to her, inspired by her story, her success and involvement in "the aviation industry”!! Being able to talk to her in person and share so many different stories and ideas was a dream come true and made me feel extremely ambitious to succeed. I feel one step closer to achieving my aviation goals. She is an amazing person and hopefully we will meet again soon. Thank you so much, Mama, for all your support! You are my hero."

September 2018 Newsletter

Dear Sponsors and Friends of Urukundo,

This message is the most difficult I have ever written.

A ruling from the government has thrown us into grief and difficult readjustments. Please bear with us as we cope and adjust to this government ruling. Many tears have been shed.

For five years, we have fought this event, but it has finally become a reality for the Urukundo Foundation. The Rwanda government has decided all orphanages and homes for children must close. This rule is across the board, no exceptions. The government is requiring us to close our children’s home, calling it an institution.

This does not in any way affect Urukundo Learning Center. Urukundo Foundation is, as always, dedicated to providing education for those from low- or no-income families. The school now has 702 community children in preschool and through Primary 6 classes. Enrollment will increase to over 800 in 2019.

Our secondary students and university youth also are not affected by this directive. And we will continue to grow and benefit many needy children in our community.

But the 25 younger children are being moved from their Urukundo home to be placed with biological parents, or, if there are no parents, in foster homes or with extended biological families. All are expected to be placed after the end of the 2018 school year in December.

So far five of the children have been moved. They are Jason, Nelly, Kenny, Kenilla and Kaboss. As arrangements were made, we have notified their sponsors and asked for their continued support for school expenses, medical insurance and emergencies.

Thirteen others still live with us but have been assigned to move in December. They are Jennette, Aline, Kevine, David, Sarah, Rebekah, Jacob, Claude II, Prince, Benitha, Yves, Isaiah and Livine. Still waiting to be assigned new families are Johnny, Egide, Luki, Soso, Claude I, Diane and Claudine. We are hoping all will be allowed to remain here until after Christmas when the older kids in secondary school and university are home to share the love with them.

To say I am OK with this would not be true. My heart is breaking.

The good news is the National Children's Commission has agreed that Urukundo will not lose the children. They will go to school wherever they live with their families but will come home to Urukundo to visit on school breaks. Urukundo is trying to cooperate with the government to make the transition easier for our children.

We will have final approval of the foster families. We also have permission to monitor the children in school and in their new homes. Our child advocate Olive is visiting them at their homes and in their schools on an ongoing basis.

Those placed near our school will continue to attend school here at the Urukundo Learning Center. Urukundo is paying school fees, equipment needed for school, medical insurance and any emergency conditions. These payments will go to school and medical facility bank accounts in the area where they live, not to the families.This assures us the children are in school and cared for.

For those who sponsor individual children, it is our hope you will continue to care for the child you have loved. Your support will allow us to continue caring for the basic needs of your child and our dependent children.

With your help we will continue to support and protect our Urukundo family children. Without your help, this will not be possible.

Please pray with and for us and all the children as they prepare for this difficult transition.

We also ask that God will give all of our children, staff and older brothers and sisters peace and healing for our broken hearts.

Mama Arlene