We are thrilled to announce that I will be going to Rugarika, Rwanda with Karina Alvarez, a member of the GIFTS Rwanda team, and her husband Albert from August 14th to 24th!
We are eagerly looking forward to connecting with the villagers in Rugarika to witness their progress in taking collective ownership and responsibility for the projects we have started together. The purpose of this trip is to achieve the following goals:
Visit and document all of GIFTS Rwanda's projects including:
Per their request, Karina and I will be delivering a talk on reproductive health, hygiene, and body changes during the teenage years to female students aged 7 to 20 at the school. Additionally, we will begin a trial reusable menstrual pad program with 20 school-age girls, which we will evaluate during our visit to see if we can expand to all individuals at the school who need them.
We are thrilled to share this exciting news with you! We would also love to hear your suggestions on what you would like us to see and do while we are in Rugarika, documenting the progress and impact of your generous donations. Your input is invaluable in ensuring that we make the most of our time there and serve you in the best possible way.
Additionally, we would greatly appreciate any tips and advice you have for our safe travels. It is important to us to take all necessary precautions and ensure a smooth and secure trip. Your guidance will be highly valued in making our journey a successful one.
Do you remember how GIFTS Rwanda began?! Click HERE to learn about founder Shari Shelton and Karina Alvarez's first trip to Rwanda and how GIFTS Rwanda began!
Please know that this trip is being fully funded by Shari and Al Shelton, and no portion of your donations will be used to cover the expenses.
We cannot wait to be in the village and to get the opportunity to finally meet the individuals we have the privilege of serving.
Rwanda's national mourning period began on April 7th, with Kwibuka (Remembrance), the national commemoration ceremony. Brigitte and Paterne went to talk to the students of Rugarika to see how they are doing during this period set aside to remember the genocide victims. They had a beautiful visit and took a few pictures and videos to help us feel like we were there too.
Brigitte took time to look at the students reports and encourage them to work hard for a bright future as you can see in the photos above. They had a wonderful conversation and some girls even stood up and shared the strategies they have used to get top marks.
Paterne had a lovely talk with Jean who lives in Rugarika and is raising his siblings. They talked about what GIFTS Rwanda has done for him and his brothers and sisters. You can watch what Jean had to say in the video below. Jean's smile at the end of the video never fails to brighten my mood.
Brigitte had the opportunity to talk to a woman named Cecile who is part of the beadwork group in which GIFTS Rwanda sponsored the fees for the materials and training in 2021. Cecile is speaking to us as a representative of the beading group and she let Brigitte know they need more beads due to not being able to get the beads at the market. They have made many requests to no avail and are hoping we can help in getting these for them which we are able to do because of funds already raised by YOU! Listen to what she has to say below.
Stay tuned for more updates, new project announcements, and to hear even more stories that we continue to share from the people of Rugarika impacted by your generosity.
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In honor of International Women's Day, let's salute the impact women have made all across the world and celebrate the progress of all women.
Let's also join in the mission to fuel more progress for women and girls everywhere. One way to do this is to give a pregnant, single mother an opportunity to join a tailoring co-op to receive education and a means to make a living. This includes a sewing machine, training, and supplies. Simply click HERE and select "Sponsor New Mother Tailoring Education" from the drop down.
Here's to progress, equality, and lifting one another up. Happy International Women's Day!
Meet Esther Mutaremara. She is a beautiful woman who has raised five orphans on her own. Or I should say on her own, with the support of GIFTS Rwanda. Her story is incredible and they would not be where they are without YOU.
Click the video below to hear from Esther yourself:
Remember, this story would not be possible without YOU.
Thank you for your help turning this woman and the five orphaned children she cares for around. When you invest in GIFTS Rwanda, you are investing in Esther and her children, and you are proving that better days are ahead for the people of Rugarika.
Bringing sustainable change to Rugarika will never be easy, but you make it possible. Thank you for your support of our mission.
P.S. Inspire more giving by sharing GIFTS Rwanda website and social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) with your friends and family!
P.S.S. Looking for more ways to make an impact? Become a Monthly Giver! Simply click Recurring under Frequency on our Giving Page located here. Monthly Giving is the most effective way to continue the work serving this vulnerable community and creating sustainable change to raise the village of Rugarika out of poverty. No amount is too small!!
2022 Your Impact Unwrapped....
Here's what happened when you took action.
Together we ran our 2nd campaign (Boeing Triple Match Campaign) June 2022 and raised $32,088 for the following:
Five months later our 3rd campaign (Giving Tuesday New Moms and Farmers Campaign) launched and you raised $20,804 for the following:
All projects done in Rugarika 2022 because of you:
You helped bring in $100,610.78 so far in 2022!! Here's how that compares to past years:
WAY TO GO!!!!!!!
Exciting Next Steps...
We are not stopping with a one room building for the sewing co-op... Our long term goal for this building is to work up to having a four room Multi Activity Community Center! There will be a room for the sewing co-op business and sewing trainings (that we now have the money to build!!), a room for our soap making project, a room for making bags using beads, a small room for stock, and a room for meetings as well as for giving talks to the community teaching them various things such as how to fight malnutrition and reproductive health with young girls and their mothers. Near this building will be a place reserved for farming activities as well as the chicken house we raised money for last Giving Tuesday!
If you made it down this far, from the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU for your help in tackling poverty and creating real, sustainable change. You are a world changer. It takes a certain kind of person to make a difference in the world and to choose to help those in need. Thank you for being that person.
YOU DID IT!!!
Because of YOU, we reached our goal! Thank you for giving and supporting the New Moms and Farmers campaign this Giving Tuesday! You raised $10,804, and with our $10,000 match, you helped make the massive impact of $20,804!!!
This money is going to equip single mothers in Rwanda with a sustainable career in sewing through our GIFTS Rwanda's Sewing Project. Being a single mother in Rwanda is especially difficult as job opportunities are few and many stigmas remain. But with your help, we will be offering them a safe and secure building as well as sewing machines, supplies, and training. The ripple effects of this moment will be generational and were made possible by YOU.
Here are details regarding how the funds will be used:
We can now build these women a safe space to learn, teach, and grow their sewing business for countless groups of women to use moving forward. Our new graduates are excited for the opportunity to help mentor and train our next group of new moms who will be going through the sewing co-op training program in the new year!
Exciting Next Steps...
We are not stopping with a one room building for the sewing co-op... Our long term goal for this building is to work up to having four rooms! There will be a room for the sewing co-op business and sewing trainings (that we now have the money to build!!), a room for our soap making project, a room for making bags using beads, a small room for stock, and a room for meetings as well as for giving talks to the community teaching them various things such as how to fight malnutrition and reproductive health with young girls and their mothers. Near this building will be a place reserved for farming activities as well as the chicken house we raised money for last Giving Tuesday!
But that's not all. GIFTS Rwanda is donating approximately $500 directly to everyone working so hard to produce our new coffee Rwanda Nyakarenzo! This is to cover the bags of coffee produced for those of you who donated $100 or more to the campaign (we had well over 20 households give over $100!). Your coffee was roasted on Friday December 2nd and is being packaged now. It will be shipped out to you this Friday December 9th. We would LOVE to hear your feedback on the coffee after you try it. Remember, this is a bag of whole bean coffee so if you are like me and do not have a coffee grinder you can find a reasonably priced one here. Board member Darla Bauer and I got the opportunity to try it last month and we are SOLD. It's a lighter roast that is delicate and bright almost like a tea. Darla could smell citrus lime notes and red currant and reported it is very smooth and pairs superbly with a buttery crisp and brown sugar cookie. We can't wait to hear what you think!
Holiday Gift Idea!
Our coffee is now available for SALE! This coffee is considered a Single Origin and from a small farm in Rwanda custom roasted by Top of the Lake Coffee. Employees in Rwanda work on the farm, harvesting and washing the coffee beans. We have partnered with Nyakarenzo Coffee Washing Station/Rwacof (approximately 70% of their employees are women), whose focus is on improving the financial situation of the local farmers. This makes for a perfect gift for the coffee lover in your life while knowing your money is going to the incredible people of Rwanda.
THANK YOU for your help. We appreciate YOU so much!
The wait is OVER...
The world doesn’t have to be what it is; let's change the story.
On November 29th, people all over the world will come together and harness the power of human connection. GIFTS Rwanda is participating in Giving Tuesday 2022, and we have an exciting opportunity for you!
Partner with us as we equip single mothers in Rwanda for a sustainable career in sewing!
Being a single mother in Rwanda is especially difficult as job opportunities are few and many stigmas remain. But with your help, we can offer the education, supplies, and location needed for the village of Rugarika. Our goal is to build a safe and secure building as well as provide sewing machines, supplies, and training. The ripple effects of this moment will be generational.
To help meet this goal, we are kicking off the launch of our coffee, Rwanda Nyakarenzo, in partnership with Top of the Lake Coffee. Everyone who donates $100 or more HERE will get a FREE bag of our new coffee! Proceeds of the coffee purchases go toward GIFTS Rwanda’s sewing project, as well as directly to the employees in Rwanda working on the farms, harvesting and washing the coffee beans. We are partnering with Nyakarenzo Coffee Washing Station/Rwacof (approximately 70% of their employees are women), whose focus is on improving the financial situation of the local farmers.
Oh, and did I mention we have a goal of raising $30k AND we have a $10k MATCH to help us get there?!?!
Starting NOW through Giving Tuesday (November 29th) get your donation MATCHED up to $10k! Give $100 or more and you will be one of the first to receive our brand new coffee, Rwanda Nyakarenzo. Keep it for yourself or use as a beautiful holiday gift for the coffee lover in your life. This is ONLY for this campaign so donate now to take part.
The women and girls of Rwanda are brilliant, compassionate, resilient, and brave. This Giving Tuesday, join GIFTS Rwanda in helping create gender-equitable job and leadership opportunities. Your donation dollars have never reached so far.
This opportunity will change the lives of these young mothers and only lasts until November 29th.
Are you in?
An opportunity is coming that will change the trajectory of the women and children in Rugarika
At this time of year, we could all use a reminder of the good in the world. You’ve been part of some incredible work this year, including giving 16 single new moms the skills to begin their own sewing business when they were looking at a future with very little options open to them.
We want to celebrate the good you’ve made possible already and invite you to participate in a new opportunity to make an even larger impact this giving season.
More details are coming soon!
Make sure to stay tuned for the exciting news and how you can join in! Add us to your email contacts and follow us on FB, IG and Twitter so you don't miss a thing!
Vote with Your Dollars
As we move through election day in the US, we want to offer you an opportunity to vote for independence and joy for the wonderful women of Rugarika, Rwanda and their precious children.
Have you seen our New Mothers Sewing Co-Op graduates?
As part of their graduation the ladies requested uniforms with GIFTS Rwanda across them. The uniforms create a sense of belonging and teamwork for those who have gone through so much. They are single moms who have very little options open to them in the culture they are in and they have bonded and encouraged each other greatly. Your vote of confidence in this project is something they are very grateful for, and they are proud to show everyone in their community the new skills they have acquired. You can see in these pictures the joy and confidence gained by these beautiful women. We are so happy for each of them and the bright futures they hold!
Every dollar you give is a vote for the women of Rugarika, Rwanda.
Coming soon we will have an incredible opportunity to help these and many more new moms in Rugarika.
I am so excited to share how you will have a chance to make an enormous impact!!
Don't miss the exciting news by signing up for our emails below and follow us on FB, IG and Twitter so you don't miss a thing!
Good News: Better Days Are Ahead!
Better days are ahead because of you. We can all use some extra positivity in our inbox these days and I have a feeling this testimonial will do just the trick.
Click the video below to hear from Bernard!*
*We apologize for the music making it hard to hear. The interview is taking place in their church and the church choir is practicing in the next room. I personally find the music and his voice quite lovely. Enjoy!
I hope Bernard's story inspires you. When you invest in GIFTS Rwanda, you are investing in the development of the community of Rugarika, you are empowering the real stories of people like Bernard, and you are proving that better days are ahead for the people of Rugarika.
Bringing sustainable change to Rugarika will never be easy, but you make it possible. Thank you for your support of our mission.
P.S. Want to see more video testimonials and add impact to your Inbox?! Enter your information below to receive email updates, inspiring stories, special announcements, exciting initiatives and more from GIFTS Rwanda! You can manage preferences an d unsubscribe anytime.