January 2016 Board Member Trip to Rwanda
Comfort My People Update
Mary Long (Co-Founder SageView Foundation) and Kathryn Downs (Director SageView Foundation) spent eight days in Kigali, Rwanda with Comfort My People in February, 2016. In addition to our local team that consists of Pastor Willy, William and Theophile, we were blessed to have Moffat Zimba, of Northrise University, spend the week with us, sharing his wisdom and experience.
The purpose of our visit was to spend time at each project supported by the Foundation and gather information through in person observation.
In July of 2015 land was purchased in the Bugasera District and work began to clear the land for an organic sustainable farm. The farm will produce fruits and vegetables that are of commercial grade. This produce will be sold in Kigali. We are negotiating to have a Dutch greenhouse constructed on the land as well, that will give us a unique competitive advantage in Rwanda as the demand for organic produce increases and Rwanda looks to source its produce locally.
After only five months, land was cleared, fences built, irrigation supplied, and crops were planted.
While we were in Rwanda the first crops were sold to a Kenyan specialty store in Kigali and orders were placed for weekly delivery. The project is being directed by William Mwangi who is training in agricultural management as well as Dutch greenhouse technology.
The farm is already providing an income to 15 local families and they are in the process of forming their own saving community.
It was a gift for us to be able to visit a number of homes that have been provided in partnership with the local community to women and children. Many of the women do not have extended family support due to the genocide and therefore do not have the resources to give their children basic shelter.
The student scholarship program has continued to grow and benefit the children of many of the widows that have received homes in the area.
Our meetings with Hope International in Kigali were scheduled to explore the possibility of a partnership that would create small savings group in the area that we serve. These groups would be administered through Hope International. This is a long term goal and the Foundation has been begun providing Hope with the statistics that they must have to evaluate the need in the local community.
Each time we have the pleasure of spending an evening with the young men who have chosen a life of sobriety we are encouraged and uplifted by their faith and the freedom that they have found in the Lord. It is so humbling to see the fervor of their faith as they share their testimony and to see the community that has been developed to give them the structure they need to begin a new life.
Akilah Institute for Women
The team had the opportunity to tour the campus in Kigali that offers young women a unique opportnity that empowers them as leaders in a developing economy as well as in their communities. We were most impressed with the integration of graduates into the workplace as well as their commitment to have the staff mentor the women one-on-one.
As we leave the land of many hills we are reminded that what we saw in Rwanda truly depicts “beauty from ashes” .
Mary Long and Kathryn Downs