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A Note for New Readers

Urukundo Village is an independent home for Rwandan children created and funded through Hope Made Real and its incredibly kind donors. We are not funded by any particular denomination or organization and welcome all who seek to help the children of Rwanda and create a better world not just for a child, but for us all. 

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October 2017 Newsletter

So much has happened in October, I am not sure where to begin.

Go Ed Volunteers

September 28th the Go Ed volunteers arrived.  Partnering with Go Ed, an association that brings University students from the USA to serve as Practicum for three months in Rwanda has been a delight. Our 2017 term volunteers are Hannah Pyrzynski, Andrea Manor, and Katie Wagner.

Hannah and Katie served their Practicum working at Urukundo and HRD (Handicapé Rwandais Réhabilité Réintégré dans ses Droits.)  If you know French; you now know what it stands for.  For me it is people with a heart for children with special needs. These two girls have such hearts.  Andrea came as a teacher in our preschool program.

Volunteers are so needed and welcomed at Urukundo Home and Urukundo Learning Center.



Nelly, Katie, Olive, Andrea, Pastor Yves, Diane, and Hannah holding Janette.  Great mix.

Our kids taught them Rwandan style dance. 

Love was the central theme and there was plenty to go around.

Child of the month

Claude’s Story

Having given my computer a tea bath; I sadly have no pictures of Claude when he was little.


Claude’s story is a long one and worth reading

The story began in June 2008 when Urukundo was called by the Department of Gender and Family Development. The Secretary to the Minister's program for the day was to secure homes for the prison children. No, they are not criminals. In Rwanda, when a nursing mother or a pregnant woman is incarcerated, the baby stays in the prison with the mother until the age of three years. At that time, family are looked for to take the baby. And if there is no family, then the child is placed in an orphanage or Home for vulnerable children. Working with the prison ministry was beneficial to Urukundo.

We arrived at the prison in the morning and was introduced to 3 year old Claude. He was afraid of me but ok with John, my manager at the time. Rwandan children fear white persons and I am definitely white.

The hardest part of all came when the little boy was taken from his mother to travel with us away from the prison and his only security, his mom. Claude was a very strong three years old. John was driving so I had to hold Claude He struggled to get away from me and was kicking and screaming and reaching for his mother. Big tears filled Claude’s little eyes and poured down his cheeks, his mother was weeping. Wanting to have her son but knowing he could not stay with her.  The prison staff cried along with us. Tears filled John's eyes. I cried but held it together until I was seated in the front seat and Claude was placed in my arms. For weeks, I had bruises on my legs and arms from trying to hold this little boy. He was so scared. He did not know me and besides that I was white. Later, I cried for his mother and for the loss of her little boy. There has to be a better way to do this. 

Claude did not accept living at Urukundo. He was a very strong minded 3 year old and was determined to go home to his mother even though home was a prison. It was where his mother was and where he wanted to be. I could understand how he felt but the prison was no place for him. His mother told us the other inmates abused the children if they cried or the prisoner was just in a bad mood. She wanted us to care for him until she could be with him. That might be a very long time. We were told his mother would be in prison for a very long time, perhaps as long as 17 years.  She was in prison for her part in the genocide. I have no idea what she did but it must have been bad to be sentenced to 17 years. If there was no pardon or reduction in the sentence, Claude would be a young men in his twenties by the time his mother was freed.

From the beginning, Claude had a mind of his own. He loved his mom and he made it quite clear, “I am going home to my mom.”  Not in English, of course. Home was the prison and every day he tried to escape.  I was the villain. He hated me and that was hard for me to accept. I wanted to take him in my arms and assure him it would be ok. I could not comfort this hurt little boy. For the first month, we had to keep him in our sight. As soon as he woke in the morning until the doors were locked at night that precious boy took off running to find his mother. He did not know where he was going; he just knew mama was not here in this home. He could see the road and that road led to his mother. It was hard with the other children to care for and to keep sight of him every minute. 

Finally, he made friends with Luki who had lived at Urukundo since he was 6 months old and was the same age as Claude.  They became fast friends. Luki assured him; he would be ok here and I was a good mama. After giving him time to adjust, we arranged for him to visit his mother and that seemed to solve his problem. I think we can thank his mother for that. While she was in the local prison, we took him to see her every 3 months. Then she was transferred to Butare Prison and we could take him every 6 months. Another move placed her so far away we could only make the trip once a year. Every September, Claude travels to Nyamagabe Prison and Claude takes sugar, soap for washing clothes, toothbrushes, tooth paste, material, a coat or dress and other things to her. She now has been pardoned and should be released in February 2018. She has already said she will not take Claude from Urukundo but will move close to us so she can visit him. He said at the same time “When my mom gets out, I will visit her on holiday and then come home”.

Claude was a fast learner and learned English quickly.

When Claude was 6 years old,I was surprised to see him with the four farmers (young men) setting in the Tiki hut. The men were gathered around him. I was concerned and called to him, “Claude, what are you doing?”   He looked up at me surprised and responded, “Mama, I am teaching them english.” He was.  The young men assured me. At 6 he was already a leader. Now he is 12 years old and his goal is to be a soldier or a Police Captain or maybe a banker. 

Claude was in the first graduating class from Kindergarten. Claude is now finishing Primary five and will finish primary school in 2018 moving on to secondary school.

His brothers and sisters in Urukundo family; Claude, Luki, Aline, and Nelly.  All Primary 5 students.


Claude (center) plays the violin.

He is captain for the soccer team (Foote ball) at school and our family team.

Claude has grown in to a wonderful responsible young man. He cares for his brothers and sisters at Urukundo and is the leader of the children. He is loved and respected by the family Urukundo.

Mama receives a gift

Surprises are so wonderful when totally unexpected.

I feel so honored.  Divine arrived for a visit home with a huge package. It was for me. I don’t do gifts well but she had brought it all the way from Kigali on a bus. Got to give credit for this and appreciate the gift and the giver.  

It was a Thomas Kinkade painting not a copy but an actual painting by a local artist from a picture he saw.

She said “Mama, this has mountains from Rwanda and Lake and beautiful leaves from Pennsylvania so you have both your homes.”  I love the painting and love the young woman who gave it to me.


Jeanne gets a roommate.  Catherine Wilkinson from London, England; joined our group and will be here for 4 weeks.

Catherine, nickname of Felix, is an architect and so was very interested in our construction projects but her passion as a volunteer was to work with the children at the preschool. It surely was a change of pace for her. She and Jeanne made a great team and are in demand throughout the school class rooms. Felix will miss graduation by one day. Jeanne came intending to be at the graduation so she is here until November 27, 2017.

Math class and teamwork. Can’t beat it. Progress for the kids.

Claudine gets a helping hand with math.

Nicola Hedden also from England arrived in the middle of the night and had a dark ride from Kigali to Urukundo Village. Kigali is well lite but the country side is still very dark. Better to see the stars.

After a night of some rest, she was up and ready to go. She is teaching English at the Primary level. We are so grateful for teachers especially Math and English.  The kids now call her Nicki. Wow. Another great volunteer.

Nicki is a business woman and has an interesting job. My understanding is her firm handles financial accounting for recording artist and others who sell their talents in recordings, etc. They collect the revenue and then pass it on to the performer. 

New Pastor at Urukundo

Pastor Yves Iragena has replaced Pastor Antoine who has moved on in his ministry. 

Pastor Yves has served his probationary 3 months with Urukundo and has accepted a permanent position on our staff.  He is 32 years old. Pastor Yves is young in the ministry; He has a Certificate of Ordination.  

He is husband to his lovely wife, Liberatha, and father of two boys; Yranson Cyusa Berwa & Govin Laurenzo Aberwe Intwari. 

He also takes care of his ageing mother & father.  His outreach is to youth and children. Our children are getting the spiritual guidance needed. The community children are responding and parents will follow. The attendance in worship each Lords day morning has tripled.  He is the perfect father image needed at Urukundo. God has blessed Urukundo by placing Pastor Yves and his family in our Foundation.

Pastor Yves with some of our kids, community kids and adults after worship. Jeanne is also in the mix.

Computer class in Library

Wonder where we can contact the organization who founded “One Laptop Per Child.” We really would like to find out how, we can qualify for their help. Our students would benefit so much. We really need more computers. 

Our computer lab is small and in the library now with only 4 computers for the children to practice on.

Classes are held in the ICDL lab. Practice in the library.

In process, the open door is the new lab location.

We are constructing a separate classroom to be ready for the 2018 term of school and to be open to teaching ICDL to adult business men & women and in the community.

Bus update

As promised but not ready yet. We are so close. I think the news will be worth the wait. So bear with me a while longer.  Bus donors the news will be good. I thank all who have sent gifts to help pay for a bus for the school kids and their safety.

It is an exercise in patience and determination.  We are going to succeed.

Visitors for October

Urukundo Village prepares for 22 Volunteers from Indigo Volunteers, a non-profit from England. 

Urukundo spruced up a bit and were ready to meet and greet with good lodging, great food, and loving children. This fantastic team of 20 bankers from HSBC and representing 14 different countries arrived this month October 2017.

Twenty beautiful people and the two leaders from Indigo came from England, Canada, Australia, Greece, Spain, Egypt, South Africa, Singapore, China, Brazil, United States, Dubai, Libya, Bangladesh Italy & India.

Comments from the Banking Team

“Thank you for welcoming us into your home.  Your love has changed the lives of all the visitors.”

“Thank you for all your incredibly dedicated work this week. You made all us visitors so welcome, loved, and well fed .“

“This really is the most beautiful home in the world.”

A lasting memento from the team dedicated to the children and all who visit our dining room

They tell me the Wise Old Owl watching over the kids represents me.  Funny

Be sure to see the October special on the web site for more details about this wonderful event at Urukundo Foundation/Hope Made Real.

Construction for October

Want to help build a school? Yes, you can.

School development: Two classrooms needed for January 2018 and a computer lab for teaching ICDL. This is outreach to the community and for our school.

Floor going down, paint added to cement for color.

Almost finished

Visitors from African International Club (AIC). 

This is the club that has so generously helped us purchase desks and chairs for our school. 

Andrea Morris from South Africa and Eva Lindgren from Sweden came for a short visit. Andrea wants to come back to worship with the kids and Eva is a nurse and will be back to care for bumps, scrapes and bruises. It was a delightful visit but too short. Thank you Margie Krogh, Secretary of Hope Made Real Board of Directors, for bringing AIC members. We will miss you as you return to the states.

Beautiful faces like this one makes my day.

Until next month.

Much Love,

Mama Arlene


Urukundo Special-October 

What do bankers do for fun?

Well, let me tell you what 20 bankers from HSBC and representing 14 different countries did in October 2017.  Two leaders from Indigo and Twenty beautiful people from England, Canada, Australia, Greece, Egypt, South Africa, Singapore, China, Brazil, Dubai, Italy & India, Spain, and United States.


Through Indigo Volunteers based in the UK, they booked their volunteering trip to Rwanda. Urukundo was the resting and working habitat during their stay. 

Benjamin Western, co-founder of Indigo Volunteers sets the pace.


He had their full attention.  


They walked the kids to school & greeted all the school children.

Waiting at the gate for traffic report before crossing.


Sharing the morning school greeting.

Yoga was a morning routine. Tas was the teacher.

Thanks to my daughter, Patricia for the two yoga mats, however that is enough for everyone who participated.  We need more, please. Then we can get the children involved. Great conditioning.


They taught their countries culture, dress, and food to the children at Urukundo Learning Center.

Egypt - Ahmed Assisted by Tas

Egypt- Ahmed and Andrea

Dead not yet buried, a live mummy. Egyptian burial tradition. 

Dimitri from Greece

Spain- Cesar

Pakistan- Sheryar

Singapore – Luke

India – Tasina

United Kingdom –Amy and Laurance  

Canada- Kinda, Harry

China –Yuan & Junje

South Africa- Eline

Australia - Sabrin


The Story

There was a beautiful princess and a brave prince and a dangerous lion who lived in the land. The lion wanted the princess and so stole her away. The prince went after the lion to get the princess back. The prince killed the lion and rescued the beautiful Princess. With the lion slain the people in the land had a better life.  Bravo Prince

Photos for the story

Drama- England- Louise & Michael

Prince slaying the lion

Lion is dead. Long live the prince & princess.  Happy ever after.

England- Amy & Harry

 Brazil –Luciano

Libya - Fay

Free Time

In free time, they played with our kids and just had fun.




The sharing was wonderful and beneficial for all.  They became involved with children from the local community and the Urukundo Home for children.

Worship with the children & Mama.

Sharing Advise

The office staff of Urukundo Foundation and Mama will be forever grateful for the advise, knowledge and know-how shared with our office staff. Fine tuning our operation was so important.


The team decided as their project to paint the children’s dinning room.  I was delighted.


The Story Behind the Tree Painting

The trunk of the tree is Urukundo Foundation. The branches shows growth. The leaves some small represent the little kids. The large ones represent the older kids and the falling leaves represent kids who have moved on.  The wise old Owl represents Mama watching over all.




Our dining room is beautiful.

The final and equally exciting event was a Foote Ball (Soccer) Match between the Urukundo Staff and the HSBC team. The score 5 to 1. Urukundo was the winner. Great Game everyone.


Amazing Leaders

Indigo is blessed with gifted leaders.  Benjamin and Tas did a great job. Thank you guys!

Tas, one beautiful, talented young woman wonder where her future will lead.


The entire HSBC team, Urukundo staff, and the Urukundo Kids.  I loved and appreciated all that the team did and the love they shared. We look forward to their return in the future.

Oh by the way, they did find time to visit the Gorillas while they were in Rwanda. 


September 2017 Newsletter

September is the month six of our kids return to University.  Three more start their freshman year. We need sponsors for these kids.  Feel free to volunteer.  Even a small amount helps.

It also seems to be a make things beautiful month, adding to the playground in last months Newsletter.  Covering the cushions in the boys house fits the category but the cushions were recovered because the material was warn so thin that the kids could dig holes in the material and play with the foam they removed. They thought it was fun but I remember when one of the kids put foam up their nose and it became a serious infection.  It took some time to discover the problem. Better to recover the cushions. I think they look great. The material is washable with warm water and a cloth. What do you think?  Improvement? I vote Yes!

Now if you want cute, how about the new chairs for Day Care?

Taking possession with an attitude.

The children love them. They are just their size.


Chantel, Day care manager, appreciates having a play table and chairs where the kids do not set on the floor all the time. Better for her too.

Child of the month

Soso's Story

Four years ago, Soso was born at a local hospital. His mother had no money for a bed and was placed on a Moto before she was healed. Carrying her newborn son; she started home to her village across country on very bad rutted roads. When the driver reached her village it was discovered she had hemorrhaged all the way home and had died from loss of blood because she had not had time to heal, Soso is an orphan. He is a delight and a very active little boy.

His name is Hildebrand but such a big name for a baby.  He was nicknamed Soso by his sister Solange. The nickname stuck.

Soso continues to enrich our lives at Urukundo Village. 


Soso was our very first Preschool dropout.  He was a very resourceful little 3-year boy who had decided he did not want to go to school.  It took a bit of time for me to figure out what was going on. He had been so excited when he turned three because he could go to school but suddenly after the first day he decided school was not for him.  For a week, we tried to deal with the problem to no avail. It occurred to me there was something else going on so I watched him during that week.  He had the best of times not going to school. In the morning, he could play with the kids who went to Kindergarten in the afternoon and in the afternoon he played with the younger set after naptime.  He didn’t need school to make his day perfect.

Mama took steps.  I went to talk to Soso and told him “It is ok if you don’t want to go to school. You do not have to go any more. You can stay home.” He was so pleased.

“But while the other kids were in school you will have to stay in your room on your bed with no books or toys or other kids to play with until school was over.” He said, "Ok, I will do that.”

That lasted one day, after an alone no play day he came to me and said “Mama, I want to go to school please.”  Soso is in school and happy to be there. No preschool drop out.


Soso graduated from Kindergarten in November 2016.  He is now in Primary 1(First grade) and doing well.


Soso’s greatest wish was to have a place to go to visit during holiday from school.  Recently some extended family has been found and one member has accepted to have Soso during the school holiday.  We are pleased that this has happened.  Soso’s found relative Erneste came to meet Soso at Urukundo Village.  We are hoping it will happen for other of our children. It is so good for children to have a connection.

Our boy, Soso “Hildebrand”


Urukundo Learning Center

Look for an update on the bus project in next month’s newsletter.

“Education Fund” Supporters

Those of you who have contributed to the education fund will be pleased to know we now have textbooks for all classes. This has been a goal for some time. How awesome is that?


Books for Primary  1 – 5.  We are blessed thanks to all of you.

Three hundred textbooks for our Primary 1 -5 kids at last. Thank you who have donated to the Education Fund. More are needed but these 300 textbooks are a great start

Next school year we will need text books for P6.


In January 2018, all 6 Primary grades will be in session at Urukundo Learning Center.  This will be our first class to take the National Exam.  How our children do in this critical exam will tell us if we are doing a good job.

Our future looks bright as we have been given the go-ahead by the District to build and operate a Secondary School (High School) as part of the Urukundo Learning Center. 

Our vision


More about that later.  This is now in our 5-year plan. Ever on ward and up ward in education.  Who knows maybe someday a University on the top of our mountain? Can’t wait to see that picture.


Top 10 in classes

Incentive works wonders so it was decided to give a small gift to each child in their class who were in the top 10 academically. Each received a small bag with a gift inside.


Gifts ranged from stuffed animals for the youngest to school supply kits for the older group. Next year, we will find another category for the prizes. Like most improved, best attendance etc. You get the idea. Rewards must not be only for the top achievers but must include those doing their best. Any suggestions for categories?

Jeanne is back.

Check out her message on the web site.

Jeanne Willis joins the teaching program at Urukundo Learning Center.  

Kids welcome Jeanne


Jeanne hails from Pennsylvania and is returning for 3 months to volunteer at Urukundo Learning Center. Do read her message to you on the website

Welcoming Jeanne after more than a years absence was our Headmaster I’rene’s pleasure. Preschool teachers are excited to have Jeanne in their classrooms.


Comforting hug from teacher Jeanne


Preschool is such fun.  Hands up - good exercise


Teaching tools colored chains.


New home for Electric Generator.

We thank God for Benjamin, our construction engineer and technician.  If it can be built, he will build it. He is the best.

Required for Dental program.  It was necessary to meet regulations for us to build a home for the Generator. It now is housed in a small building of it very own. The generator supplies electricity for the Dental Clinic when power goes out. Who wants to be half way through a process have the power fail and wait 4 or 5 hours in the chair for the electricity to return? The generator saves the day. It kicks on as soon as the power goes and kicks off when it returns.  Our dental Clinic operates very well.


Rwanda is famous for being the land of a thousand hills. That is great but not for building. After you build you must add retaining walls to keep your building from moving down the mountain on its own. This wall is for the toilet at the Primary school. Funding for this building was donated by WOF (World Orphans Fund), we are so grateful for their support.  The fence is to protect the kids from a serious fall and maybe broken bones. We love and protect our students.


Entrance to lower lever of Primary school


The walk way is extensive but the building cares for both levels of the Primary school.


Oswalde escorts Mama on an inspection tour. It is good to have an arm for support. 


Looking to the Future

In line with our five-year plan, three classrooms are under construction and hopefully will be ready by January 2018.

The two classrooms will facilitate our growing school population and one will be the new classroom for computer studies both for our students and adult classes for the community. The adult computer ICDL program under the direction and encouragement of Dr. Bob Dove is aimed at helping businesses in the area to better understand and us computer programs to their advantage. Dr. Dove and wife Amy will be residence of Urukundo Village in November 2017. We are excited to have them join our family.

Amy will be an asset to our education program working directly with the school administration on curriculum and administrative problems.

Building and roof completed on three classrooms. 



Inside work started. More work to be done. Cement walls, chalkboards, windows and doors, flooring (stones and cement), finishing work paint, décor and desks, and chairs.  Then kids. Wow!


University News

Keeping you current, we now have 13 students in University. Two are in the USA.  Nine in Kigali Universities and two are attending Gitwe Hospital School of Medicine.


Alexander, Esperance, Cecelia, Dada, and Divine welcomed a visit from Jeanne our long-term visitor. Lilliane came later as did HMR Secretary, Marge Krogh. Knowing our kids are safe and living in a good house is a blessing and an added bonus for us is it is a place in Kigali that we can take visitors to and they can meet the

“BIG KIDS” not day care babies but just as cute. Some difference.

Cecelia and Pacifique (Dada) have moved to University house in Kigali. The girls started University in September. They are missed here at home.  Study hard and do well girls.


Deborah also started University in September.  All our students receive an English bible upon finishing Secondary and before starting University.  These bibles are gifts from donors in the US.  Reading English and having an English Bible is special for Urukundo kids.


We are delighted to welcome visitors who come for only the day.  Brian Booker (glasses) from Tennessee and Jennifer PrudHome from California where a team brought to us by Yvan from GEI.  The are representatives from “Onestep” Education is their priority.  We had a delightful visit and they enjoyed the tour and lunch with the kids.

Mama and Baby Outreach

Yes, our supplies of basic needs for babies nearly were depleted. Of course, I sent out the word.

Thanks to your devotion to the Mama & Baby program!  We are again able to supply mamas with much needed supplies for their newborn infants. I am so grateful. From our clothes closet when we can, we also send some clothing to other siblings in the family not wanting them to feel left out.

We also give baby gifts to the newborn babies of our staff.

Bona one of our male teachers became a father this month and is so proud. His first-born a boy. New papa’s need encouragement & love also.  I am featuring his son and wife in this newsletter.  Thought I would let you know how your donations for M&B are working to support Urukundo and the community.  Thank you, all who love and care for babies and support this program.


Note from Mama Arlene.

I so appreciate hearing from those who read the newsletter. Feel free to comment either in the comment section at the bottom of the newsletter or send your comments to me at my email address (Arlene@hopemadereal.org)

Thank you

Arlene Brown


Jeanne's message


 My name is Jeanne Willis. I am a retired schoolteacher from Hughesville Pennsylvania, USA. I earned my bachelors at Lock Haven University in Lock Haven, Pa. My major was Early Childhood Education.  I taught in schools in Florida, 20 years, Quito Ecuador, 1 year, St Croix in the Virgin Islands 6 years.  When I am home I work, as a substitute teacher in Montgomery Elementary School near my home in PA. Teaching for 26 years has been a great experience. As a retired person I hope to teach for many more years.

My first visit to Urukundo was in January 2016.  I stayed for four months teaching the students and working with the teachers at the Urukundo Learning Center Preschool. The time went much to fast. In my off time from the school I was engaged with the 26 kids under 10 years at Urukundo Home for children.  What an amazing place. I enjoyed them and participated with the kids in dancing, creativity and singing. It was interesting watching them solve their problems and helping each other out.  They truly are family.

I am so thankful how Mama Arlene has worked so hard to expand the Learning Center to include community children in the education system. The 566 students from the community and 26 from the home are getting a good education. The school and the foundation provide many jobs helping the economy in the area.

I returned to Urukundo for a second time last month, “September” and I intend to be here for the graduation in November 2017. It will be exciting to see the children I taught on my first visit graduate from Kindergarten to Primary school. The graduation is special as the little ones wear caps and gowns and receive a diploma, just like University kids. They are so proud.

If you love children, love to teach and want to make a difference in lives of vulnerable children you would feel right at home in Urukundo Learning Center in Rwanda, Africa where every care is for the child. You would be most welcome to a life changine experience. It makes my day when students come running to me take my hand and in English say  “GOOD MORNING TEACHER.” Their precious smiles and bright shinny eyes grab my heart. They share so much affection and want to learn. Oh what joy I feel when they recite poems or sing songs I have taught them.

Working with the teachers especially in a second language (English) is also rewarding as I am able to see the results as they share what I have taught them with the children. The teachers welcome and so appreciate new skills and new ideas other teachers from other countries bring to share with them. Coming back the second time I am able to evaluate the changes taking place because I and others have been here. How rewarding to see the school growing, teachers blooming and the children progressing.

It is also rewarding when a teacher seeks me out and asks for help and invites me to their class room. They so appreciate my help.  I often wonder what I have to offer and God gives me the answer most often. We come here with what we have and God provides the rest.

Mama has many goals for Urukundo Learning Center and Urukundo Sewing Center. Yes, so much love and compassion are involved.

Take it from one who has been here. If your heart is for children and you want to make a difference your next trip should be to:

Urukundo Village, working at Urukundo Learning Center , touching the lives of children who just need the opportunity to have a firn foundation in education.

Education is the future for these kids.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you.

Jeanne Willis


August 2017 Newsletter

August is awesome for about 2 weeks with so many of the kids are home and then my kids all go back to school.

I promised a photo of the secondary school kids. You will find it's a much smaller group than July’s picture. Why? Five of the kids in the last photo have started University or will start in September. We now have 18 kids who have finished Secondary school and are moving on to Universities, technical school or employment.

Child of the month: Rebekah Landis

Rebekah Landis 5 years old

Our little girl came with no name. It was my privilege to pick a name for her. Rebekah in the bible is one of my favorite woman with a strong character (forceful woman). I chose that name for this little girl. She is living up to her name.

When Rebekah came to Urukundo, Pastor Sharon Landis was volunteering with us. We needed a last name for her and Pastor Sharon suggested she have her last name and so Rebekah Landis became a part of Urukundo family.

Becca for short arrived at Urukundo on October 24, 2009. Her date of birth was figured as about June 29.  She was brought to Urukundo by Exec. Sec. of the Gitarama Cell, Misago Matias.  

The social worker who also came with her told us,” this baby girl was left in the house of a poor family who already had many children and could not support another child.  "Can she live with you?” Saying no to a baby is not possible. At 4 months, she was a tiny girl with a will of her own.

Rebekah has a personality like no other.  In early childhood, she tried getting her own way by crying every time things did not go the way she wanted. It took her some time to learn that crying did not get her what she wanted but gave her time on her bed away from the other children.

She is the most loving and friendly child in our home.  She is a forceful little girl.  

She is now 8 years old in Primary 2 and doing well.  She could edit a newspaper. Her abilities run in that direction.  

Rebekah has leadership abilities and looks out for the other younger children. She is alert to happenings in the village and is first alert if there is a problem brewing. Love that little girl.

Rebekah today


She will be an interesting one to track as she matures. Expect great things from her.


Returned to Arizona University USA

Tresor is so special at Urukundo. His visit after being gone two years was much too short.  His return to the USA was sad for us but we know he will return to make a difference in his home land in two years.

Jacob and Jason needed a photo with him and Banita would not be left out. Makes a great picture.


Play time with the kids for Tresor


Progress of a sort

A first for Urukundo Kids.  Having a drivers license is indeed an accomplishment.  Both Tresor with his USA license and Divine with her’s from Rwanda are now drivers. To make it a special event Tresor rented a car and for the first time my University three came home driving a car.  Shock for Mama.

Tresor, Lilliane, Divine

 Aspiring Soccer (foote ball) player, Jason.

A very happy reunion

A delightful surprise when my phone rang and it was Pastor Alexi saying he would visit me the next day with a friend.  How great when the friend was Bill Graf.

Pastor Alexi and I have a very long history in Rwanda and his family are part of the Urukundo family. Pastor Alexi serves a United Methodist church in Kigali City.  Bill Graf first came to Urukundo when we were only a home for girls in 2007. He was a witness when we bought our first piece of land.  Bill is an attorney from Colorado, USA. He has been a faithful supporter for Urukundo and our family.

Inspiring Woman

Charlotte Sauer & Lena Claro both Medical students in their 6 year of medicine came to spend the day at Urukundo Village.

These soon to be doctors were an inspiration to our girls.  Yes, girls can be doctors. Set your goals and do your best in school. It can happen.

Another Pleasant surprise

This has been the month for pleasant surprises. My dear friend since 2007, Dr. Otto Fischer from Austria arrived Sunday, August 13 to worship with the children, share lunch with us, and spend several hours just talking with me.  Some of you will remember Dr Otto as the Veterinarian.  

So everyone seems to be taller than me.  

Dr. Otto Fischer brought with him 3 of his “Verein Future for Kids” students and a driver/friend with him.

Check his web site: www.future4kids.at

This is a great photo but white hair does not show well in the sun light from the lunch room window.



Our visitors are few but very special.

Christoph Rass & Carolin Horacek from Germany visited the Urukundo Learning Center in August. Short visit but very nice. They brought soccer balls for the kids. Great gift.  Their interest in Rwanda is schools. I do hope we made a good impression.

Mama & Baby Outreach

Baby #10 for August

Baby #15  This little preemie almost didn’t make it. Born at 7 months.


Playground gets a facelift

Our playground was funded by “Raised Hands For Africa” out of North Carolina, USA several years ago. We are grateful. It is used by the school, our kids and the Day Care kids. What a blessing.

Included in the facelift is lines and back boards on Basketball Court.

Ready for another umpteen years. 

Construction of Wall

It is very necessary to establish a retaining wall at lower level of Learning Center.

In order to protect the toilets, WOF (World Orphans Fund) helped us build this essential wall. Without the wall a heavy rainstorm could bring the building down the mountain. Our mountain is beautiful but soft ground requires much care.

Sand, stone, cement, and hard labor gets the job done. Great crew.

Secondary Kids 2017

As promised in last months newsletter.  In photo from left to right; Bosco, Belise, Esperance, Abias, Giselle, and Olivier.  They are great!

Bosco and Abais & Oliver are in senior 5 graduate in 2018

Giselle & Fabrice are in senior 6 and graduate this year 2017

Esperance & Belise finish Jr. High this year.

Fabrice was not present for the group photo but is also a High school student.  He did make it home on a short visit.

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
Williamsport, PA 17701

Much love,

Mama Arlene
Urukundo Foundation/Hope Made Real