We've been busy...
We have been busy these past two months and are excited to update you on the incredible impact your support is making!
Updates coming to you soon on the other projects so be on the lookout for those!
Stay tuned for inspiring stories we will be sharing throughout next week from the people of Rugarika impacted by your generosity.
Remember, YOU are the change. THANK YOU for being a part of our team. We feel so blessed and thankful to be a part of so these Rwandan peoples' lives with you. An extra special shout out to our Rwandan team Brigitte and Paterne, and their good and endless energy and work for their people.
The new mothers in GIFTS Rwanda's sewing co-op are already learning a ton and are excited to start making uniforms for the students. They are feeling a sense of comradery and are currently working on creating uniforms they can wear to show everyone in their community that they are getting these new skills together. These uniforms create a sense of belonging for them and improve their team work together. It is amazing to see their spirits lift with this new sense of purpose.
Recently with your donations 35 students were able to receive new uniforms. 14 went to primary students and 21 went to secondary students. Secondary schooling is much more expensive (annually $240 for secondary school vs $60 for primary school) because you must pay for tuition to attend on top of paying for a uniform and supplies. If a child is able to go to school at all, most drop out after primary school due to these tuition costs. We are proud to be sponsoring 21 secondary students' tuition and are dedicated to increasing these numbers as we move forward together.
Because of your donations 33 families also just received food and supplies including rice, cooking oil, beans, soaps, and maize as well as rabbits and goats with chickens on their way. Each animal provides a living, nutrition, and meat for that family. As you can see below, the people are thrilled at the hope the food, supplies, and animals provide them and are grateful for your support.
Through your donations GIFTS Rwanda is working on the following:
Stay tuned for more updates, new project announcements, and to hear stories that we begin to share from the people of Rugarika impacted by your generosity.
Please help inspire more giving by sharing GIFTS Rwanda's website and social media platforms (links at the bottom of website) with your friends and family! Additional funds are welcome to allow us to continue this work serving the vulnerable community of Rugarika and creating sustainable change to raise this village out of poverty.
Remember, YOU are the change.
THANK YOU for being a part of our team!
Check out what GIFTS Rwanda is up to...
The team has been busy this month and we are so excited to update you!
Our first ever campaign, GivingTuesday, wrapped up last month and because you $11,937 was raised. With the $10,000 matching donation the final total is $21,937.... almost $2,000 past our goal! THANK YOU!! With your donations the following projects have begun:
You can now donate DIRECTLY into any project that you choose right off the donate page! Simply click the 'Select A Campaign' drop down under the Donate Now title and select the project you would like your donation to go into. If you do not have a preference GIFTS Rwanda is preselected and your donation will go into the general fund.
You have helped make such a difference in this world! See how your support has impacted the people of Rugarika:
It is exciting to see the increase in outreach for so many of GIFTS Rwanda's current sustainable projects. Other projects, currently on hold, that are also sustainable, should be taking off in the near future, as more funds come in. Our team on the field in Rugarika, Brigitte Mukunyandwi & Habinshuti Paterne, are great at letting us know with high enthusiasm, the many new projects they see a need for as they visit the people in Rugarika. These are mentioned in some of the above paragraphs. More funding will be needed, of course, and any additional funds are welcome in order to continue this work.
It's people like you that are helping the people in Rugarika make real sustainable change, and it couldn't be done without you. THANK YOU for being a part of our team!
Giving Tuesday Success 2021
In November we took on our first EVER campaign and were offered a $10,000 matching donation so we made a big scary goal of $10,000 to fully take advantage of the match. We are so excited to report because of people like YOU we SURPASSED our goal and raised $11,937.03, and with our $10,000 match, made the massive impact of $21,937.03. Every dollar is going to the people in Rugarika Rwanda living in extreme poverty to create a brighter world and save lives. The work to defeat poverty by creating sustainable development is made possible because of our donors and from the bottom of our hearts we want to say thank you to each and every person who gave, no matter the size.
We are excited to continue building on the momentum of GivingTuesday 2021 and will be sharing stories of how our donor support has impacted this important work and the projects that will be launched because of it. There are so many opportunities to allow us to continue our work serving this vulnerable community and creating sustainable change to raise the village of Rugarika out of poverty. $9,300 will fund the building of a duplex for two families (includes bed, table, and chairs). $2,356 will fund the purchase of a water tank giving countless people access to clean water. $215 will sponsor a pregnant, single mother to join a tailoring co-op to receive education and a means to make a living. There are countless opportunities to change lives. Learn about all of our opportunities under the Current Projects Tab and give to which ever project speaks to you.
We are excited to work with you to continue to help truly make sustainable change and the people of Rugarika permanently out of extreme poverty. We can’t do this without you and we are grateful to be in this fight with you.
Dear Donors and New Friends,
We have filled you all in with what happened in GIFTS Rwanda in the beginning and early years so far, but what about the last 5 years? Let me try and give you a concise summary of what we have been up to and where we are going! What has been most exciting about the last 5 years, is seeing how our hardworking staff in Rwanda, Brigitte Mukanyandwi and Paterne Habinshuti, and the people in the Rugarika village that they work with, continue to come up with some marvelous ideas of their own that we are thrilled to help them with. I should also mention that both have families, and both are full time teachers who do a marvelous job with their students. Brigitte’s husband Jerome helps with the construction of the duplexes, and runs a small chicken business at their house, as well.
Did you know that in Rwanda, a person can get medical insurance for only $2 a year? This gives people access to the clinics and a hospital when a baby is born, if they catch malaria they can be seen and get medicine, shots, and much more. Such a deal! 600 people have insurance so far, and there are plans to cover more people in the near future.
Getting clean water nearby can be very hard for families, some of them even keeping children home to fetch water every day. Brigitte and Paterne are looking into the best way to help with this issue. If anyone has any great ideas or would like to donate to such a project, let us know!
GIFTS helped fund a few small houses early on for families living in very run down dwellings, but soon our community volunteers and construction workers who worked on these told us: “If you built a duplex instead, two families could be housed, and it would be cheaper.” It turns out that this too was a good deal, so much so that we could also provide some furniture and food for the families when their duplex was completed. We are up to 10 duplexes now! Perhaps you’d like to be part of funding another one?
The women of Rugarika are totally on the move, always looking for ways to help their families and friends. We had one group of 13 women who trained in doing intricate beadwork purses. GIFTS sponsored the fees for the materials and training, the women each finished several purses, sold them, and were able to buy more materials and continue to use the money to further their children’s schooling. This group continues to flourish, and is sustainable, which is thrilling!
A strange request came in one day that a group wanted to start up a soap making group. The start up fee was quite low, and we said, “Yes, of course.” Well, who would have guessed that the year after this group began, we would see an almost total shutdown of the Rwandan economy due to Covid 19, and that cleaning well was suddenly very important. The Rugarika soap making group is doing very well, and were able to help many people, thanks to many of you who donated, and the hard work of the people with the little-big-start-up-idea for a brand new business. Great things sometimes come from small beginnings, and this business continues to provide job opportunities for new entry workers, sometimes even for our students.
About 3 years ago the idea to start up a chicken business was mentioned. So was the cost: $6166. Because of the price, we have not been able to get this off the ground. Brigitte and her husband Jerome have a small chicken business, and are ready to help train, and will donate the first 100 baby chickens when this comes to pass. The building seems to be the most expensive part of this, along with special lights, cages, etc. Maybe there's a large extended family out there that would be up to tackling this project?
More and more students are being helped, and this year something exciting was decided. Brigitte and Paterne, asked if the 33 students from 32 families, could each have a goat, 3 rabbits and a hutch, and 9 chickens. Students also get staple foods such as rice, beans, oil, batteries (for light to study), and their school fees, supplies, and uniforms paid. As the animals begin to reproduce, these animals will be shared with others who do not have them. Rwandans are good about caring for their neighbors, for sure! And of course, we said “Yes!” again. Below is news from two of our sponsored students, Patrick and Thabita.
A brand new camera has just been sent to Brigitte and Paterne, and we look forward to seeing even more lovely pictures very soon, and who knows, maybe one of our students, or Brigitte and Paterne’s children will become a great photographer of their beautiful country and it’s landscapes, and the incredible people who have such great courage and love.
There are so many good things going on and things on hold until we raise more funds. Hopefully many of you will rise to the challenge and get as excited as I am for the wonderful families, children, and students in Rugarika, Rwanda.
Sincerely and with great joy and hope,
Sharon (Shari) Shelton
Director of GIFTS Rwanda
· Left to Tell, and Led by Faith, both by Immaculee Ilibagiza, who spent the 3 months during the genocide in a forgotten bathroom of a pastor’s house. All in her family were killed except a brother away in another country to study. She too has immense faith.
· Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Roméo Dallaire, force commander of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda. The story of General Romeo Dallaire's frustrated efforts to stop the madness of the Rwandan Genocide, despite the complete indifference of his superiors.
· The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns, president of World Vision. This is about his journey as a successful businessman, finding Christ, and how later on in life, God called him to leave all of that and work for W. Vision. He is now a prophet, calling all of us to live out our lives as Christ impels us to.
· Our God of the Trees by Eric Irivuzumugabe, who faced horrors during the genocide and ended up hiding in some trees for at least 15 days of it. He also finds God, forgiveness, and peace, and raised his two younger brothers.
· A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It, by Stephen Kinzer. Kinzer delves deeply into the life of Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, who has worked much good in this troubled nation, though he is not perfect. President Kagame is revered and talked highly about by most Rwandans. A powerful and in-depth read.
· Kisses From Katie, by Katie Davis. A marvelous true story of a senior in high school who goes to volunteer in Uganda for 3 months. She falls in love with the people, returns the next year, and ends up building quite a mission that is still going strong and expanding. Her faith is very humble and real, as are her journalings of being a young mom with many children. (How fortunate we were to go and see her work)!
GIFTS Rwanda Project Summary 2020
With the support of individuals like you, in 2020 we have been able to make a huge impact in the village of Rugarika, even during this time of the COVID 19 here in the U.S., and in Rwanda, by providing:
GIFTS Rwanda Project Summary 2019
We’d like to update our past, current, and hopefully future donors as to what is happening with our GIFTS Rwanda. In the small village of Rugarika, where most of our focus rests, we are thrilled that the villagers themselves are now coming up with good solid sustainable ideas on how to make a real long term difference in their lives for the future.
The villagers’ most recent endeavor is a small soap making business. Supplies were purchased, soap produced, and the soap is being sold to schools, churches, and families. This business will continue with some profits set aside for more supplies. Twelve women also spearheaded an idea to make intricate beaded purses, and after buying supplies, and training for 3 weeks, this took off well. Purses were completed, sold, and more supplies for further production purchased. This still left extra money for food, school fees, and supplies for each family. It is clear that these dear women were very proud of their idea, and that it is successful and ongoing.
These two newer projects walk alongside past projects which we have continued to fund, such as building several new houses each year, purchasing cows, goats, chickens, garden tools and seeds for even more community gardens, and providing health care for 200+ families. We have learned that pigs are not a good idea as they run away, so they have been discontinued. This year’s house was a duplex for two sisters and their families. Again, a new idea brought up to us by the men to provide 2 houses in 1 for a better price.
The past 4 years we have had a dream to sponsor a chicken farm, which will cost $6,166. We have a donor sponsoring $1000 of this already. Yay! Brigitte Mukanyandwi , who is one of our directors of GIFTS in Rugarika, started up a chicken farm of her own 5 years ago with her husband, Jerome, and they are willing to donate baby chickens for this project.
GIFTS Rwanda Project Summary 2018
With the support of individuals like you, in 2018 we have been able to make a huge impact in the village of Rugarika, by sending $10,200 three times throughout the year, which provided:
We are super excited to have one of our top goals, Sustainability, (the “S” in GIFTS), which involves projects that can be ongoing, and led by the Rugarika people, going very well, with much anticipation of a beaded purse industry and a chicken farm to start up shortly. It is so fulfilling to see them take leadership! Thank you for all you do for the people of Rugarika.
GIFTS Rwanda Project Summary 2017
With the support of individuals like you, in 2017 we have been able to make a huge impact in Rugarika, our 2nd village, by providing: