Community Outreach

May 2019 Newsletter

Successful fundraiser

Here it is the end of May. What an exciting month it has been!

Now on my mind is going home to Urukundo.

Of course, the last week in April has to be in the May newsletter. That last week in April saw the “Bridging Pittsburgh to Rwanda” fund-raising event.


Here are members of the bridge team plus two Urukundo siblings, Tresor and Solange, and myself. Awesome group. The three of us told the crowd about Urukundo.


The celebration included a get-acquainted event.

Jewelry and crafts from Urukundo Village were for sale.

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The event was well organized and went very well. Everyone had a good time, and funds were raised for the Urukundo Foundation/Hope Made Real.


Funds were raised, but it wasn’t enough to finish building much needed classrooms for the elementary school. However, it was more than enough to pay for a much needed, handheld portable X-ray machine for the Dental Clinic.

MaxRay handheld portable X-ray

Included with the machine are the charger, battery, strap/holster, premium sensor and software.

This is very good news.

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Urukundo Dental Clinic wishes to thank Vector R&D Inc., Dr. Richard Reckmeyer and the many others who made this acquisition possible.

Community Christmas on Dec. 21

Christmas for community children was a bit overwhelming. We knew it would be more than last year, but the over 600 who attended was more than we expected.

Kids arrived early, waiting for doors to open at 1:30 p.m.


Seating plan went well.


Hope House is full and runneth over.


Overflow. On outside retaining wall and steps.

All children were served inside and outside.

We decided that we could not use chairs this year. Mats were placed on the floor in Hope House. Benches were along the far wall for teens. Chairs on platform were for mamas with babies.

Ok now we are ready. We think.

Boxed milk, meat sumbosa and juice for those who cannot tolerate milk were the treats for the day.


Entertaining so many children, it was necessary to have not only a system to serve refreshments but also to give gifts and have an exit setup so that there was crowd control. Interesting!!

Plan A. Give refreshments, collect trash. Girls line up for Door No. 1.

Boys line up for Door No. 2.

Receive gift, exit building. It worked.

Didn’t need Plan B.

Door No. 1 girls.


Door No. 2 boys.


Executive secretary Eric and Johnny.


Claude, Luki, Aline, David, Soso and John helped serve the kids and did the outside cleanup after the finish. They did a great job. Thanks, guys.

Ready for Christmas

Claude, Aline, Luki, Claudine, Egide, John, David, Diane and Soso

Claude, Aline, Luki, Claudine, Egide, John, David, Diane and Soso

Mama and Baby Project

Mama and three little girls came to Mama & Baby Project for help. Thanks to so many of you, we can help. The big girls like their new clothes. Lookin’ good. Baby is 3 months.  She also received clothing for her age and size. Mama’s front porch is the distribution center. Love it.
We are careful to remember the other children in a family and give them something also. Don’t want hard feelings when the  baby gets gifts and others don’t. Learned that from being the mom of five.
This little one is a first child, and mama is so happy with a gift of clothes. The baby girl’s name is Belise.
This little premie is loved by her mummy and Urukundo. Her mother came back to say thank you. I share that thanks with all of you.

Measuring our growing students

Student nurse Charlotte and John Paul combined forces to weigh and measure all 702 of our students for a growth chart to follow each year.
We hope to keep a record that we can share with the parents as we watch their children grow on a yearly basis.

The preschool was first on the schedule.

Stepping on a scale and then backing up to the wall is not hard unless you are 3 years old and getting instructions from a woman who speaks only English. John Paul was a godsend and such a help by speaking both English and Kinyarwanda.
Project moved on to the Primary School.

March 2018 Newsletter

Do you remember the stone path in an article in the March 2012 newsletter? Look it up.
It still applies today in March 2018 as it did in 2012.

The stone path has grown from five stones to many stones and has been moved to the outside boundary to have enough space. It is a great way to honor contributions to education.

Help us continue to provide quality education where it is needed most. We will build a new path to the secondary school (high school) with your stone and a substantial gift of $1,000 or more for construction of the school.

The amount needed for the new high school for more than 700 students is very high ñ US$300,000. No one church and most individuals cannot afford such a gift, but if all could give what they can afford, it would be a big help in reaching our goal of providing quality education to the vulnerable children in Rwanda.

Give from your heart. Help to build the future.


Computer Training

New to the Urukundo sign is ICDL.

School, Dental, Foundation and now ICDL for computer training.

With ICDL, an advanced computer training class with qualified teachers is available to the community.

Police, bankers, businesspeople, district employees and any other interested groups or individuals are invited. Classes will begin in March 2018. They are in process as you read this sign.

To those readers in Rwanda: Delighted to have you join us. Call 0788919754 for information.

It might be a bit of a trip from outside the country, but you are also welcome.

February Special News

If hearts sing and love abounds in February, mine is right in tune. Urukundo is so blessed.

We have big news to share! We have a new name for our Dental Initiative.
University of Rwanda College of Medicine and Health Sciences, School of Dentistry and Urukundo Dental.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Document signing, sealed with a handshake.

A delegation of 7 came to Urukundo Village from the University School of Dentistry to take part in the signing ceremony making Urukundo Dental Initiative part of the School of Dentistry.


Muhumuza Ibra - Dean, School of Dentistry - University of Rwanda College of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Karl Self - University of Minnesota School of Dentistry and Donna.

Sawsan Salih - Associate to the Dean of the School of Dentistry, Harvard School of Dental Medicine.
Valli Meeks - University of Maryland School of Dentistry.
Valli is from Philadelphia, PA. She is definitely a HOME GIRL for me - same accent!

Valli, Sawsan and Karl are part of the United States faculty working with the Rwanda Human Resources for Health Project.
(l-r) Ethel, Mama Arlene, Julienne, Valli
Ethel and Julienne are instructors at the University School of Dentistry.
Summary of the MOU
This is a brief summary of how it will operate.

The school will pay for food and housing only for their students and instructor.  There is no large financial gain for Urukundo from the school but there will be recognition and the connection with the University giving us creditability. We are a fully equipped Dental Clinic in operation. We purchase our own supplies and have our volunteer clinic staff. The University will supply the guidelines to ensure we conform with government regulations. They will also respond to any urgent needs.

We can do our own charging for services. For difficult cases, we can send the client to the Dental Hospital at the University and the cost will not change for our patients. This will give them access to dental services they could otherwise not afford. Also our dental service can now advertise and be open Monday through Saturday noon. This will give us many more clients. Our clients pay a minimum charge for consultation and depending on the service needed the cost will be determined by what the client can afford. Some will be free and others will pay a reasonable cost. We hope in that way to give good service and to pay for needed supplies.

We are operating under the University license. This is an important contribution from the School of Dentistry. There will be 6 to 10 students coming for clinical training each month on a two-week rotation program and an instructor coming with them.

This is a very important step for Urukundo.  It also helps our standing in the district.  It should be very interesting. I am sure there will be changes as we move forward. We are a pilot program for the University. If our relationship is successful the University will expand the program to other areas of Rwanda using Urukundo as the model.

Sports at Urukundo


There are 20 kids in the Saturday morning Karate class.  9 are our kids, 11 are from the community and the group comprises both boys & girls. It is awesome to watch these kids and the master at work. It is work with dedication.

Our 5 first and 4 second graders love karate!

When the team is ready they will compete with other teams of their age.

Our master teaches as a volunteer. 

We could not afford ready-made uniforms from stores in Kigali town so our Sewing Center took a pattern, bought material and made uniforms. They are great. Good work, sewing students!  These uniforms are also available to the neighborhood parents. They can buy them for their kids at an affordable price.

I think the kids look great - comments from our readers are appreciated!

One of the neighborhood kids has a yellow belt. I'm not sure what that means in terms of advancement for children even though my son Ted is a black belt!

Volunteer Master & kids: Pete in a brown belt. He is very good with the kids.

Sewing Center becomes a Hope Made Real

Our first official sewing class started May 20,2014. Five students enrolled.

These young women have completed Primary School and have no way to go further in education because of the high cost of tuition. Without a skill there is no job available. Urukundo Sewing Center founded and funded by generous supporters in the US and Canada, offers machines to teach sewing and has opened a door that was closed for them.

Read about them below.

Our trainees and trainers:

Thresea, Florida, Jacqueline, Phoibe, Divine, Melonie, Desire

Therese Mukabanany, our teacher for basic sewing, machine maintainance and theory.

Therese had 7 children, but she lost 4 during the genocide and now has 3 in her home. It is important to her that she can educate her remaining children. She was a housewife before starting to sew. With this job she is able to pay school fees for her children and support her family. Her diploma is from ECOLE TECHNIQUE SCHOOL FOR SEWING.

Desire Uwimany teacher for fancy sewing and tailoring, specializing in men’s cloths.  He is a father, and had a job tailoring in Kigali but it did not pay well. Desire left that job  to come to work at Urukundo. He is pleased because and he said,

“I can pay school fees for my all my children and take care of family."

An opportunity for you to help women and girls to have training in a trade where they can earn an income and provide a better future for themselves and to help their families move out of poverty.

$192 USD will provide tuition for a full year of training.  $192 to give a woman or girl a new lease on life. These are persons who are hard workers and want a better future for themselves and others.

Florida is single and has 7 younger brothers and sisters.   Before now her life has been cleaning in other peoples homes when she could find the work.

Florida said "Learning to sew will give a job so I can have a better future. I also want to be able to take care of my brothers and & sisters."  

Florida hopes to become a teacher. 

20 years old, Divine is an orphan with 1 sibling.  She stays with a person who wishes her well.

She says: "I will be able tp get a job and support myself.  I will stop burdening people with my needs."

Jacqueline Irahuzais, 15 years old, finished primary school at age 12.  For 3 years she has prayed for a way to help her family and herself. Her parents are poor and so secondary school was not affordable for her. There is no work available for this young girl. She is so grateful for this opportunity to learn a trade.

With 8 siblings, Phiobe is 16 and has finished primary school with no secondary education in sight due to family poverty. She is unhappy to be at home without anything to do. Her goal is to become a seamstress in time, to own her own machine and have a small business.  

Her comment

"I will be able to get a job to support my parents and siblings."

Jacqueline Irahuza - she has 3 siblings and her father is a carpenter. Jacqueline is 15 years old and finished primary school at age 12.  For 3 years she has prayed for a way to help her family and herself. Her parents are poor and so secondary school was not affordable for her. There is no work available for this young girl. 

"Earning some income is important to me.I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn a trade. I never thought this could happen."

Melanie has 4 siblings, her father is one of guards at Urukundo.

Her thought is: "This is an opportunity for me to be self reliant."