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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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January 2016 Newsletter

A New Year Begins

The New Year 2016 started out with a first at Urukundo Village. Can you imagine coming to Urukundo to spend your honeymoon? Well it happened.

Lauren and John Paul came to Urukundo for part of their honeymoon. It was great. This may be the chosen spot for a honeymoon in the future. Better book early.

Lauren and Paul spent New Year's Eve celebrating with the kids. I am sure it was different than any celebration they have ever been a part of. Paul is quite a dancer and Lauren comes in second in African dancing. Me, I have become a spectator. Age does that to you. Darn.


Sunglasses were the perfect gift for enjoying sunny Urukundo in Rwanda. Lauren & Paul brought a pair for every kid and Mama.

We tried to make it a little special with the help of Lauren’s boss.

Paul & Lauren during departure at the airport.

Joy of Joy's

The arrival of this young lady has been a blessing for children, teachers and me.

We had no idea what a bonus she would be to Urukundo kids and Urukundo Learning Center when she came.

Jeanne Willis arrived in our home January 2, 2016 full of energy and love and is in our hearts to stay.

Jeanne came to teach the children in our home and school but she is doing far more than that. 

Jeanne’s goals are to help the teachers know the resources they have and how to use them better.

Jeanne hails from Hughesville, Pennsylvania and is a substitute teacher in the schools in the area.

Jeanne says she is a retired Preschool teacher. Just what part of teaching she is retired from I am not sure. Once a teacher with a heart there is no retirement possible.

Friends Church in Hughesville her family of faith are cheering her on.

Her teaching techniques are an inspiration and a source of encouragement to our teachers. 

Our Kids Growing Up

The best part of January was having so many of our older kids home. Some were here only for a few days, Divine, Esperance, Emmanuel, and Alexander. 

University Student, Esperance

University Student, Alexander

Senior Secondary Cecelia

Sophomore Secondary Esperance

Recent Graduate, University Bound, John Paul

Junior Secondary, Giselle

Senior Secondary, Deborah

Seraphine Student Senior 4

Never too young to celebrate

Jacob, Janette & Jason supervising preparation for New Year’s Party.

Sports News

Diescor, Abis, Bosco, John Paul, two basketball coaches and two foote ball coaches.  You understand these coaches; only coach our two family teams.

Where is the ball?

Every team needs a water girl

Cheering section

What fun. The score was a tie. 8 to 8. Everyone was happy.

Special for the Month

Rebekah had a surprise package from her sponsor Linda.  She was one happy girl.  A beautiful girl type backpack was the perfect gift for a little girl who just graduated from Kindergarten and is ready for Primary 1.

School supplies and some bobbles.

A new rain poncho

Solar Power Coming to Urukundo

For a long time, we have thought Solar Power would be a blessing to Urukundo but the price was beyond our reach because the installers would only do the whole village. Urukundo is many buildings and a school. We could not afford that.

Finally a friend from Austria has agreed to do just two houses to see if it is our future. Only the boy’s house and girl’s house will have the panels on the roof. Maybe we can do a house at a time when funding provides.  Claudia and Erwin Weissenböck, good friends of Otto Fischer will do the first installation in July.  Will keep you posted as to the results.

News from Urukundo Learning Center

Urukundo Foundation was honored to host a seminar for Muhanga teachers. The event was a part of the Anna Frank Project. This project emanates from Buffalo NY the sister City in the USA of Our home, Muhanga, Rwanda.

The leaders and presenters were teachers and students from Buffalo State University out of Buffalo, New York.

The 14-member team

Drew Cahn director and teacher did a fantastic job and his students did him proud. What a talented and amazing group.

Drama as a teaching tool may be a new concept to many but for the teachers of Muhanga it is a precious new tool to be used in daily teaching at our schools. More than 80 teachers attended this event and next year it will expand.

Dinner with the kids.

Dinner with the kids was a bonus for the Buffalo team and sharing devotions only added to the joy experienced by our kids. 

The Ugly Duckling Improvisation by Buffalo University Students was sensational our kids demanded an immediate second performance and wanted a third. I think they would have watched it all night if sleep didn’t interfere.  Watching their little faces was a joy to behold.

Devotions with the kids

We Have A Baby

Jean Marie Ntwari, our executive director at Urukundo Foundation and Larissa are the proud parents of a baby girl

Larissa and baby

Isn’t she beautiful?


Thanks to Carol Baney a volunteer at Urukundo, we have new African musical instruments at our school. These are called an INANGA. We have four child size ones.


David Marino and a team from Nyamata School came on an observation tour of Urukundo Learning Center. We were delighted to show them around and encourage them to invest in the future of Nyamata School. This team originates from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Path to Learning

In Loving Memory of a very dear friend this stone was added as a memorial to her and her love for Urukundo Home for Children. "Bo" I will miss you and your beautiful smile.


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

Help make their world a better place.



December 2015 Newsletter

December started off in November, somehow our months run together.

Construction on enlarging the dining room is under way.  We hope to have it finished in three weeks. Our girls had to vacate the building because of dust, dirt of construction. They moved into the guesthouse and my house. Now they aren’t sure they want to move back into their house when the work is completed.  Moving the dining room into the boy’s house made it necessary to move devotions in the evenings to Mama’s house. The kids love the moves. It is a nice change for them but I am glad it is not permanent.

Before work began

Work underway

Finished product with new paint job.  My favorite color blue. 
View from boys house

View from Nursery.

A New Addition to Our Family

It has been our motivation to only take abandoned babies at Urukundo. Well guess what more than babies are being abandoned especially children with special needs. Should we turn them away? No, I cannot. Urukundo Must have room when called on to be of special service.
God has sent us another child who needs love and special care. She has come to the right place.  She was abandoned first by her mother and her father later walked away. Alone is a scary place to be.

Her name is Chantel. She is 15. Chantel is new to Urukundo. To be abandoned at age 15 is heartbreaking. We welcome this lovely girl as part of our Urukundo Family. Chantel is diabetic with eye problems. With proper diet and insulin she is improving every day.

Do you want to help? Chantel needs a sponsor. We need your help to care for this dear child with special needs.

Birthday For Mama

Tradition for a birthday celebration in Rwanda calls for placing a Banana tree at the location.
I was honored to have my very own Banana tree to celebrate my 85th birthday.

Secretary Jullette, Exec. Director Jean Marie, and Head Master I’rene; sat at the head table with me.

Children gathered to help in the celebration.



Table on the floor. It works.


Concert at Urukundo Learning Center

We were honored to be able to present a concert with such special talent from Germany for our kids and the community.  Our schools of music kids were a part of the performers.  Claude loves his violin.

Music students from our school took part.

Christmas as Urukundo Village

Big sisters Divine and Annet teach how to make decorations.

A special Christmas gift to us.

Christmas Parties at Hope House

Staff and their children, some community children and our children made for a large gathering on Tuesday afternoon. Juice, Fanta,  and Sumbose were served and small gifts were given.

More Community kids came on Wednesday. This was the designated day for them. The movie showing was Madagascar. The African animals in it are great. If you haven’t seen it, please do so. It is a fun movie for children and adults.

The large screen TV was so appreciated. Thank you Helen Kweskin!

Improvement at the Hope House

100 chairs made Christmas special. Benches are hard to set on and carry from the dining room to Hope house for every occasion. Now, we have real chairs. The chairs will be used for worship, weddings, and other special occasions. One person’s misfortune is a blessing for another.
A friend who intended to open a restaurant bought the chairs. Unable to reach his goal, he sold the chairs to Urukundo at half price. We thank him for his generosity.

Our kids testing the new chairs. They approve.

Worship Christmas Morning

Our little kids all grown up and home for Christmas. Their song added to the joy of Christmas.  Their presence is always a joy.

Those who didn’t make it home this Christmas include: Tresor, Lilliane, Solange, Lucie, Kevin, Claude, Fabrice, and Emanuel. We hope their Christmas was a good one filled with love. We miss them.

The Christmas program begins. I do not get a preview of this event so I am always surprised at what a wonderful presentation Anitha and the kids prepared. So much talent and ability.

The singers.

No room at the inn. Inn keeper, Claude.

The shepherds greet Mary.

Wisemen and star ready to arrive.

Mary & Joseph (Nelly & Cedric).  Benite steals the stage.

Gift time in the boy’s house

Jenette (Jenny)

Alexander & Jason
Donald Duck is Jason’s favorite character.

To all who helped make this Christmas special I say THANK YOU.

Developments at the Learning Center

Primary 4 classrooms are ready for students. Thanks to the Van Dolsen Family, AIC (African International Club) who paid for desks and chairs and so many others.  Thanks to Felix and his construction crew.

Thanks to WOF and my friend, Ruth Cox for the new toliets. Cosmetic work yet to be done.



Molly Abramson, who works at the Swedish Embassy paid us a visit. Molly brought friends and family along. Our kids and their kids had a great play time. We do hope they come back for more play.

We at Urukundo Village hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebrating Jesus birthday and that your New Year will be prosperous and filled with Love. Remember our children in your prayers.

Thank you for a wonderful 2015. We are blessed because you care.


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

Help make their world a better place.



Attention Over 65 donors

If you are 70 ½ older and have an IRA, you have to make Required Minimum Deduction each year, based on the balance as of January 1 of the tax year. You have to count this as income and pay taxes on the amount withdrawn.

But Congress did give a tax break to those who want to make a contribution to any 501c3 charity. In fact you can make more than the Required Minimum Deduction, up to $100,000.

The amount given as a Qualified Charitable Deduction directly from your IRA to your choice or choices of recipients does not count as income, thus avoiding all income taxes (on the amount donated) at the Federal level. And this will count toward your Required Minimum Deduction.

To make this happen for 2015, the funds must be withdrawn and donated by December 31. For tax year 2016, these funds may be given any time before December 31, 2016.

You should consult with your tax advisor or use a tax preparation program for how to show this on your 1040.


November 2015 Newsletter

November was another eventful month at Urukundo Village and Learning Center. Sports, Dental, School, Construction and Reconstruction plus visitors to name a few of the events.

Special Notice:

It is the time of year when we make a special effort to raise funds to help community children go to school. The school year starts in January. Needed are funds for pencils, uniforms, school fees, shoes, socks, backpack exercise books. Please help us with this outreach in Mission. A gift of $15 will supply the basic needs for one child to go to school for the year.  Thank you for helping with education for Community Children.

A Special invitation.

It was my pleasure to be invited to attend worship at Mpushi Presbyterian Church on November 1, 2015.  The invitation to attend worship came from my very dear friend, Pastor Leonard.

Accompanying me to worship was John Paul, as interpreter, and the older of our kids. These are the kids in Grade 4, and Aline in grade 5. Belisa, who was home from secondary school directed the singing.


Nelly, Aline, Cedric, Luki, Belise, Claude, and Emanuel

The congregation joining in song & dance for the Lord.

School events

Soccer match

It was so exciting! Giporoso Primary School came to play a competition match with the P3-4 soccer team from Urukundo Learning Center. All of Urukundo staff and kids turned out to cheer our team. Yes, even me. I get as excited as the kids even though I don’t know all the rules of the game well.

Urukundo Learning Center won 2 to 0. Claude was the star player.

Teachers, Home staff and kids big and small came to cheer our team on.

We really need soccer shoes and uniforms. It was hard to tell who was on what team. Our goalie did a great job of blocking.

Urukundo Learning Center Graduation 2015.

On November 6, Urukundo celebrated its fourth graduation. The first graduation was in 2011. Four of our kids were in that class. They are now moving into Primary 4.

We are proud of all the Kindergarten graduates.

Four of our kids were among this years graduating class.

Claudine, Rebekah, Kaboss (Lional) & Prince.

The procession begins

Friends and Family join the students in the procession. Family support is amazing.

Certificates were awarded.

Traditional dancing

Modern Dancing was new this year.

Music played a big part in the school this year and our musicians took part in the ceremony.


Dental Clinic

On November 7, 2015, Urukundo Dentistry held an FREE day for Community children at the Clinic. 87 children received free dental treatment.

Each child had to be accompanied by a parent. It was a wonderful, busy day.

Dr. Troy Michelson from Canada was the attending dentist. His wife Charmaine, Edmond, and Theodore dental therapist assisted.

The children read a new book. DR. MOOSE MY TOOTH IS LOOSE. Dr. Troy, Charmaine, Mama, and Urukundo Kids are pretending to be Dr. Moose. It was such fun.

Moose horns in imagination.

Mama & Baby Initiative

These are three of the babies and their mother of the 19 who received help in November. 

The need for new born baby clothes continues. We will take all we can get. Can you help with this need?


Update on the Toilet Construction

Septic is completed.  Construction of building begins.

Two weeks later

New Development

Before reconstruction started on girls home

Inside dining room

In order to enlarge our dining room this work must take place.

Final production next month. Stay tuned.


Special Visitors

Fewer than normal visitors in November

Go Ed students prepare to leave.

These are three of the babies and their mother of the 19 who received help in November. 

The need for new born baby clothes continues. We will take all we can get. Can you help with this need?



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