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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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Saturday
Dec232017

Catch the Vision

URUKUNDO’S GOAL FOR THE NEW YEAR (2018)

 

Help make 2018 outstanding for Urukundo/ Hope Made Real. Your love and your gifts can make it happen.

Large and small donations can make it possible.

 

WE NEED YOUR HELP TO REACH OUR GOAL OF BUILDING A HIGH SCHOOL FOR URUKUNDO LEARNING CENTER IN 2018!

THE ESTIMATED COST IS $300,000 USD.

This will pay for CLEARING, LEVELING, MAINTAINING WALLS, FOUNDATION & COMPLETING THE STRUCTURE.

A grant for the full amount would be a HOPE MADE REAL. Donations of any amount leading toward the total amount needed would be appreciated.  Need a tax break?  Give it to a worthwhile project furthering education for needy children.  All donations are “TAX DEDUCTIBLE”

We already have the necessary permission to build from the District. We own the land on which we'll build our High School.  This Learning Center is so needed by the community.

Blueprints and itemized costs are available for viewing upon request.

Our contractor will answer any questions.

We will keep you informed as progress is made - prayers and funding please.

 

Monday
Dec112017

November 2017 Newsletter

November is the month for Thanksgiving. 

Here at Urukundo we have so much to be thankful for.

We are thankful for

  1. The 23 little children God has placed in our care. 
  2. Thankful for the older brothers and sisters who have moved on to University and High school. There are 19 of them. All total 52 blessings in our lives.

    Two of the 12 University; Dada & Cecelia

    Thankful for our secondary kids, 6 of 7

  3. So Thankful for Volunteers who come to work at Urukundo Home and Urukundo Learning Center.

    Jane O'Conner and team present precious pre-Christmas gifts. Each of our 26 kids received a new outfit in a gift bag of their own. The clothes were wonderful but of course they loved the gift bags. Kids!!!

    Modeling the new clothes and showing off the gift bags

    Thank you team. Urukundo is blessed by your love.

    Amy Miklus & Mom Susan, Part of the O’Conner team

    Claudia from Austria. Making our Solar Electricity a Hope Made Real

    AIC representatives. Andrea Morris and Eva Lindgren.

    Go Ed Girls

    Jeanne from PA & Catherine from UK

    Dimitri my financial wizard and friend.

  4. Many thanks to the wonderful people who send needed supplies to our mission for needy children in our home, community, and the refugee camp.

    These photos of just a few of gifts for Christmas for the 26 Children in our home, 32 children of our staff and 400 community children.

    Clothes to be shared.

    Socks for children

    Quilts and bears for Mama & Baby ministry. Delightful.

    Toys to share

  5. Thankful for Sponsors who email messages to their child. I print the emails and they love to receive and respond. Kaboss

    Claude sharing his joy with others. Luki, Kenny, Aline, Other Claude.

    Gifts, photos and letters are so appreciated. Thank you sponsors!

    Thank you to all who provide English study bibles for us to present as a special gift to our High School graduates as they begin University and leave home. What better gift?

    Deborah

  6. Most of all I am thankful to those who donate financial gifts to me and Hope Made Real. These gifts make it possible for Urukundo/Hope Made Real to make a difference. With God in charge all things are possible. Knowing that I add without you it would not be possible. With you, we are making a difference for so many. May God bless all of you in this time of THANKSGIVING

Mama Arlene

Awesome special shirts and tablets presented to our kids.

November's Child: Claude Muhawenimana

We have three Claude’s in our Urukundo family.  The first Claude is 23 years old. The second Claude is 11 years old and this Claude I am telling you about is 10 years old.

His story is one of abuse no child should have to live through.  The morning two catholic sisters came to my gate asking if we could talk was a surprise and very unexpected.  The sisters were nurses from Mpushi Hospital, a hospital about 5 miles from our compound. Their mission for that day was to find a home for a child at the hospital.

“Mama”, one of the sisters, who seemed to be the spokes person, said "We have a child at the hospital that needs a place to live. We can’t keep him at the hospital longer but to send him home to his family would mean his death. Would you consider taking this little boy? The boy is 5 years old.  Please can you help"  

My first response was there is no room for more children at Urukundo. “Please,” The sister said. “Come and see him then decide how you can help.”

My driver and I traveled to the hospital. Not to get the child but to satisfy the sisters.  Knowing the process here if we did not go the sisters would be back many times. They were determined and for me if they cared I needed to at least see the child.

I was told neighbors in the community had contacted the hospital where Claude lived with his father and grandmother. The cries and screams of the child were heard too much and this had been going on too long.

They feared for the little boys life. Authorities were called and he was removed from the grandmother’s home and taken to the hospital.  The mother had been driven away by the father’s mother. The home belonged to the grandmother. The mother was not welcome there.  The mother had no way to care for the baby boy so ran for her life leaving the baby to the mercies of a cruel grandmother and a weak father controlled by his mother.

The grandmother hated the mother because she was from a different and unacceptable tribe and refused to accept the baby left behind. Her treatment of the child was evident by the scars and condition of his little body.

When we first saw him he was about the size of a 3 year old. He was malnourished and his little body was scared where the grandmother had burned, cut and beat him with a stick.  His arms and legs showed abuse. His ear was nearly cut off.  The hospital did not want to let the child be returned to the grandmother’s house, as it would have meant more abuse and possible death.

There was no decision to be made. He had a home with Urukundo where he would be loved and cared for.  The father stayed with his mother for what ever reason I do not know but did not want his son there.  He gave up all parental rights to the child. Signing him over to Urukundo.

It was a long time before Claude would allow me to come near him. He was afraid of women my age and with good reason.

Claude is now a healthy little boy. His wounds are healed and the scars are looking better.

His father has never come to see him. Last year his mother came to our gate identifying her, as the mother of Claude with photo’s to prove he was her son.  Claude was happy to know he has a Rwandan mother. She asked to have him visit her family as he has siblings. That took place and after a short visit she returned him to Urukundo. We are hoping he will further connect with his mothers family.

Claude is a fine young man and we are so happy to have him in the Urukundo family. 

The student, Claude was just promoted to Primary 4 (Fourth grade).

He likes Legos and is quite good at the construction.

He likes Legos and is quite good at the construction.

Long Term Volunteers

Dr. Bob and Amy Dove.  It is our pleasure and good fortune to have Amy and Bob Dove join the Urukundo family. The plan is for them to volunteer at Urukundo for a year. Bob will be program manager and coordinator for our computer program at our school and the ICDL teaching program for the community.

Amy will be volunteering with our school administration in that office. She is highly qualified as a professional with background in the areas of curriculum development, classroom teaching, corporate training, assessment, creating and presenting workshops, goal setting and career development, building professional relationships, customer service, strategic planning, supervision, case management, and grant writing. Wow.

In her free time, she will be teaching English as a second language to staff & teachers.  Bob & Amy are from Pittsburgh, PA. We are again blessed many times over.

Graduation 2017

Teacher, Jeanne and Hannah helping the graduates get dressed in graduates in caps and gowns. 

Kavine & Diane Urukundo grads.

Walk with parents, teachers, and friends. 

Sewing Center gradates fall into line in the march.

Our graduates.

A few of the tents set up for the ceremony. Very functional. The football field works well for such events.

Appreciating the spectacular.

69 Kindergarten Graduates.

Certificates received

26 Sewing Center graduates with certificates

Gifts ready to be presented

26 Sewing Certificates & starter gift bag given tp each student.

In the starter gift bag: tape measure, scissors, seam ripper, thread, and needles.

Thank you Carolyn Nunnally!

Students present talents.

Cultural Dancing

Instrumental Music

Drama

Parade by Primary students

 

Honor student, John Nshikabatware presented with the 2017 Tom Nunnally Award.

A gift from Forest Hills Rotary Club, Pittsburgh, PA.  Presenter: District Vise Mayor of Economics KAYIRANGA Innocent.

Machine out of box, cabinet included.

Bob Dove, representing Forest Hills Rotary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania presents the honor gift to John Nshikabatware, our honor student.  Congratulations John!

 

Bus Update

In August, funding came from our donors to purchase one bus and enough for ½ of the second bus.  You can’t buy half a bus so I was hoping for additional funding to come.  I could then send a photo of two buses instead of one as a surprise for you.  That did not happen.

The first bus was purchased and was used successfully during the last term of 2017 (September, October, November).   Our need and hope still is to have more than one bus. 

The story on the bus is a story of hope.

Several Rotary Clubs in the Pittsburgh area combined with the Kigali/Virunga Rotary in Rwanda and sent a request to Rotary International for a grant to purchase two more buses. Our hope was to have three buses maybe 4 because of the need and the wonderful growth of our school. In January 2018, our enrollment at the school is over 700 children. This is truly a need in this rural area

We are waiting on word from Rotary International as to granting the request or not. It may not fit the criteria for grants from Rotary International but I did not want to delay longer to let you know where we are on the bus project:

WE HAVE PURCHASED and paid for ONE BUS.  THANKS TO YOUR GIFTS AND IN TIME WILL PURCHASE THE SECOND ONE.

The bus is beautiful. Our school name is out there for all to see and the kids love it.

Oswald, our bus driver and mechanic.

Our kids got first ride in the bus. They think the bus should pick them up and take them to school. One block? Come on. Not reality but we gave them a ride. All 26 of them plus visitors piled in and enjoyed the excursion.

Look at the happy faces.

In closing a note from Mama.

Thankful does not say enough. From my heart, I need all of you to know what you as donors and support groups have meant to Hope Made Real, Urukundo Foundation and me the past 11 years. Many of you have been a part of this ministry since its conception in 1996.  Changes continue to take place at Urukundo Village. We started as a small ministry for girls and have become a large ministry for vulnerable children (boys & girls) and children in poor families throughout Rwanda.  From one house only to many houses including a school to serve the children in Muhanga sector with a population of 19,361. Binunga village where our compound is located has a population of over 3000. Many of them children. We (you & I) are making a difference.

Thank you, Thank you, and Thank you!

Mama Arlene

Tuesday
Oct312017

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.

Visitors

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

Monday
Oct162017

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.

Teaching

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 children say. GOD IS GOOD AND THAT IS HIS NATURE.  “WOW”

 

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. 

Thursday
Oct052017

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.

Construction

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.

Visiting

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.

Visitors

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