Hope for Rwanda – Raising Families after genocide

7th April 2017

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April 7th is the Day of Reflection of Genocide in Rwanda, a painful time for those trying to rebuild their lives. In 1994 the world watched on in horror as up to 800,000 of the Rwandan Tutsi population was murdered. Over 2 million refugees were created as a result of the war and the impact is still felt 23 years later.

Together with the local church Samaritan’s Purse’s Raising Families teaches vulnerable families to use whatever God has put in their hands, to transform their lives. Since 2013 over 3,000 churches have been trained and envisioned, with 60,000 families’ lives transformed.

Raising Families asks the famous question, ‘what do you do when life gives you lemons?’.

At this year’s Spring Harvest, where Samaritan’s Purse is the main partner, they will be sharing the story of Emelienne. Using exciting 360 degree video to transport people to Eastern Province in Rwanda, Samaritan’s Purse will show how Emelienne’s life was transformed.

With the help of Church Action Groups, families like Emelienne’s are able to borrow money, have their futures transformed and work as a community to lift themselves out of poverty. Those previously ravaged by war and famine have been able to secure health insurance, pay for education and develop a sustainable income.

Alan Cutting, Livelihoods Programme Manager at Samaritan’s Purse shared about the programme.

“Each Church Action Group, envisioned by Samaritan’s Purse, identifies and supports 20 vulnerable families – they act as catalysts for change by helping them develop skills and resources”

Cutting continued.

“When these families come together and pray together they build community. They save together, commit to each other’s futures and start to dream about how God could use them. “Emelienne’s story is fantastic as life, God, literally gave her lemons. Thanks to financial support and encouragement she was able to grow her crop from two lemon trees to 24 and her income grew with it.”

Samaritan’s Purse is looking to expand Raising Families to another 700 local churches, reaching 14,000 families across Rwanda, Uganda and Swaziland.

Alan Cutting shared his hope for the future of those in the programme.

“23 years on from the horrific events of 1994 and we are still seeing the nation recover. There are demographic concerns, broken communities, and in many people there is a sense that the outside world has forgotten them. I believe that programmes like Raising Families can make a huge impact. I’m delighted that we will be able to share these stories at Spring Harvest and help the people of Rwanda dream about their futures.

Malcolm Duncan, Chair of Spring Harvest planning group, is excited about the project. “The Raising Families idea it doesn’t only see the transformation of an individual, but also a community. Raising Families is about the church being the church. When we are the hands and feet and voice of Jesus, in the way scripture instructs us, anything is possible”.