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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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March 2016 Newsletter

Hope Made Real Growth and Reflections by Carol Falke

Having been to Rwanda each year for the past 6 years, I wanted to share my reflections about all the changes and accomplishments from last March to my visit this March.

Before going I knew Arlene had many new things in the works, construction of three classrooms, an addition to the dining hall, new sewing students, a librarian, a teacher resource room, daycare, and outreach to new moms in the community. It’s one thing to read about it but another to actually see everything in action. To see the many hands working together to serve this ministry.

Urukundo Children’s Home

The Children’s Home welcomed two girls this year, Chantel 15 and Levine 9.  Both girls were quiet when we arrived but by the time we left there were smiles and hugs all around. Urukundo provides a safe, loving home sharing the blessings of being a family.

Day Care

Our littlest ones have new friends to play with as our daycare is up and running. Children of teachers and staff come as well as a new resident to Rwanda…a mom and her two boys from England. What fun the mamas and children have as they share across cultures.

Urukundo School

The school is growing and having a huge impact on families in the community.  One father, a judge, moved his 3 children from a private school after visiting our school. His main reasons were the excellent English classes, creative teaching, a LIBRARY, music, cultural opportunities and lunch each day. Other parents shared a similar affinity for the school.


The library has been growing and now has a full-time librarian, Irene. He provides resources for the teachers and storytelling for the children. As we add older grades, research will be a part of their education. Creating a place where kids love to read and learn is something few schools in Rwanda offer. Plans are being made for an addition allowing for study space.

Teacher Resource Room

With the hiring of more teachers we needed a quiet welcoming place for them to plan, grade and work on curriculum. One of the classrooms, not yet needed, was turned into a teacher resource room. Each teacher has a small desk, while shelves are organized with student school supplies, teacher’s supplies and art materials. This is a great addition to the school.


Cultural Education

Learning about Rwandan traditions and culture has been essential to the curriculum. Music includes singing, traditional dance and even lessons on violin and other instruments. To spark our students’ curiosity a student orchestra from Kigali came and performed outside. Several of our students played their violins, for the orchestra, which provided practice for an upcoming competition.

Music instructors come weekly. While I was there several 4th graders were selected to compete in Rwanda dancing and performance against 7 other school groups.  Urukundo came in 1st!!!  Another competition was a poetry reading. Harmony, a 4th grader, presented a poem, Dusakaze Umucow Amahoro, “Spread a Culture of Peace” and came in 1st. Students are learning, excelling and becoming leaders.


Sports is also important especially football, soccer. Our girls team and boys team played another local school and won! How exciting it was as the entire school of over 400 were cheering on their teams to a win.

Lunch Program

A new benefit for our students is the lunch program. Currently 110 students pay 45 cents for a nutritious lunch, which could be their most important meal of the day.  To accommodate all the children, teachers and visitors an addition was made to the dining room.  This is community.

Sewing Center

Last year 6 students graduated from the training program. In January eleven students, 14 to 30 years old began the program. They will gain skills to help them support themselves now and their families in the future. Many shared, “It gives me value”.  Besides Theresa and Desire, a third instructor, Redemption was added to teach and sew. Solange was hired to make school sweaters on the new knitting machine.  Our reputation is spreading leading to special orders for school uniforms, clothing and traditional dress.

Community Outreach to Vulnerable New Moms

This year teams are bringing knit layette items as well as many baby clothes. But….what is new is having the opportunity to meet with new moms in desperate need of things for their babies. We packed diapers, baby hats, washcloths, blankets and onesies and took them to a clinic and a hospital. The need is great so the outreach will continue.

Thank you to everyone that has made a monetary donation, a donation of items for the children and school, for all your prayers and for all your blessings. Urukundo would not be what it is today without the many people that love and pray for this ministry. People that share in the joys and tough times. And most of all those whose hearts are with Mama Arlene every day. Through Christ all things are possible!!!!

~Carol Falke


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.


February 2016 Newsletter

Solange was inducted into the National Honor Society in the USA!

We are so proud of our sister Solange.


Last family game before school starts.  Honoring their country’s flag before Foote Ball game starts.

My favorite Soccer team, Soso made the team complete. He is little but he is mighty.


In a huddle


They are very serious players. It is incredible to watch these beginners play Foote ball and see how the older kids take time and teach their younger brothers and yes, sisters the game and the rules. I am impressed.

P3 and P4 Readers

This is a special month for our P3 and P4 readers. They have worked hard to be able to read. Each earned an English language bible for their hard work and dedication to reading English. They each read a complete scripture as the final challenge. Good work P4 kids.

Passing to P4 (grade 4) is a big event at Urukundo. Primary 4 is a step to higher education. It is another step toward reaching our goals. Learning English and being able to read it is the test to prove a goal has been reached.

After reading a randomly chosen scripture from the bible successfully these children were awarded their very own English language bible.

Claude, Luki, Nelly, Aline, Chantel, Emmanuel

Getting all the kids together at one time to take a picture is not an easy task as you will see all P4 kids are not together.

Congratulations to all our readers. We are so proud of you.

Chantel our new teen and her bible P4


 4 of P4 students; Aline, Nelly, Luki, Claude. 

Emmanuel P4 achiever

Davin & Kenny & their bibles P3 students

Two advanced readers from P3 competed and also won their bible. Congratulation to all P4 students and a special congratulations to Kenny and David our P3 qualifying students.

New Sweaters

Many thanks to the lovely lady who made them for our kids. They are cuddle warm on a cool morning.

The small & the big. Sweaters are loved

Johnny, David and Prince. The bigger ones.

Claudine working a puzzle. New hat and sweater. We are so blessed with her gift of vision. Thanks to Dr. Petre and her sponsor Brittany.

Some sweaters are a challenge especially buttons.  Janette gets help from big brother Soso.

Soil Erosion and a Possible Cure 

Yes, soil erosion is a problem in Urukundo Village and planting trees is the suggested cure.  We are making something important happen.  Thanks to a donor we are planting trees to hold the soil in place and making fruit available for our kids. Double cure and a blessing.

The trees to be planted are Mango, Lemon & Orange. Hoping this works.

We will plant them on the farm to also provide some shade for the cows and calves.

Thinking ahead.

Brushing Teeth

A big important event after each meal is brushing teeth. Thank you everyone who keeps us supplied with Brushes and paste. It is interesting to know that here.

Soso and Isaah do the deed out at the water tank after lunch.


All toothbrushes and toothpaste are called Colgate.

All razors are called Gilette

All pens are called Bic.

All sanitary pads are Kotex

All Peanut butter is Jiffy

All disposable diapers are Pampers

All vitamins are Disney or Flintstone

Sorry no matter the brand name the first that came holds the name.

Making Use of Our Available Materials

In trucking and handling bricks get broken, they are not thrown away.

This is how we use broken bricks.  Repairing walk way from kitchen to boys house. Firm foundation. Cement will be poured over the bricks to make the path more stable.

Nothing is wasted.


First day of school

FEBRUARY 2, 2016

School year 2016 starts for Urukundo Kids


Mama leads the parade with Jacob, Edison & Benita

Our 3 year olds did very well with no crying. School a new adventure.

School is very important to the children in our home and for children in the community

We need help to finish building our primary school. Primary is from first grade to Grade 6. We have been blessed by you and we have completed Grades 1 through Grade 4 with one room for Grade 5. In process is one room to finish Grade 5 and 2 rooms for Grade 6.  Our contractor is building the foundation on faith with no money up front. His hope is that Urukundo will pay for the construction in time. I need help to pay him for his work.  Can you help?

What is needed:

  • Stone:  $70 buys a truck load
  • Sand:  $65 buys a truck load
  • Cement:  $20 buys 100 lbs.
  • Lime to mix with cement:  $10 buys 100 lbs.
  • Bricks: $200 buys 2500 BRICKS
  • Sheets for roof:  $30 buys one sheet.
  • Gutter:  $10 for 2 meters

Development continues You are seeing Faith In action. 

Finished it will look like this.

This is Primary (grade) 4 and one room for Primary (Grade) 5 students.

We are thankful to all who contributed to make this happen for year 2016.



Protecting our farm animals is a matter of building fences that keep the animals in and intruders out.  Bricks are better than wire. Wire can be cut bricks can not.

Special Visitors 

African International Club (AIC) has been a blessing to Urukundo Home & Learning Center.  Each year, they have supplied us with funding to buy the furniture needed in the classrooms. So far they have furnished Desks and Chairs for all Primary class rooms. We are delighted to welcome them for a visit this month to see their gift in action. They are helping to make a difference for children in Binunga Village and all Muhanga District.

Stone on Path

A new stone has been added to our path to Learning to honor a beloved mother gone to her reward.


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.


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.

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