Pelagie’s journey from distrust to providing

Her desire to help Pelagie and other single mothers was strong, but her understanding on how help was lacking. Jacqueline, along with volunteers in her church, was trained how to identify creative ways to help families out of poverty. Friendship blossomed between Pelagie and Jaqueline as they learned together how through collaboration they could unlock opportunities to use their local resources and skills to make a living. Pelagie  was given a goat to allow her to make a living selling its milk. The income she makes now provides good food, better clothing, and much needed school materials. Pelagie sense of purpose has grown as she’s learned that she is not alone in her struggles. Six other families in Ntongwe have received goats that have enabled them to make a living that provides for their basic needs.  As a result, a spirit of unity shines in Ntongwe as the community – one family at a time – continues to overcome stigma and fear.

Jeanne saw her dream come true

Jeanne is a single parent. First of all they gave her some food to help her through in the short term, but more importantly they loaned her enough money to start a small shop. Her first purchase was two bags of charcoal which she bought and then resold. Now her shop is thriving and she is selling sugar, flour, tomatoes, rice, beans and potatoes. And of course more charcoal. She is quite an entrepreneur! From small beginnings she is now able to feed her six siblings and six children and to provide for the children to go to school. She has also taken out health insurance to provide for their medical needs. Jeanne and her family have also committed their lives to Christ and joined the local Church. The love and care extended to them in their time of need was the demonstration of God’s love to them that they needed at just the right time.

An entrepreneur in the making

Gentille was born with a disability – her legs were unable to straighten and she has never been able to walk, ever since she was a baby she has either crawled or been in a wheelchair. She lost her mother before the Genocide in 1994 and her father during it. When she was orphaned, her only hope was the church, they would visit her, pray with her and teach her about God. When she had her little boy Samuel, she felt very guilty but the church did not abandon her, in fact they showed her more care and love. Through the church she learned that God does not abandon us even when we turn our backs on Him and from that time her faith became even stronger because of the love shown to her by the church. The church even sorted out a wheelchair for her, which she considers her ‘car.’

Gentille’s disability means she is limited to what she can do but, encouraged and supported by the church, she came to realise that she could do something to make a living. She could make mats. At first people from the church would collect reeds and grasses for her, now she is able to pay someone to do this. And people come to buy mats from her, take them to market, sell them and return the profits to her. This is how she makes a living. Gentille’s positive outlook, the hope that she now has and her perseverance, given her circumstances, are truly remarkable. She is an amazing woman and the church has been the difference, coming alongside her, encouraging her, being a catalyst for change, becoming her inspiration and being her family. You can see more of Gentille’s story here:

A grandmother who can provide

At a time in her life when she should have been able to count on being looked after by her children, Cecile had to take on the responsibility of raising five orphaned grandchildren, the youngest of whom was just four years old. Understandably, Cecile felt incapable of bringing up her grandchildren on her own. However, the local church in Ruhanga, Rwanda, trained by Samaritan’s Purse, introduced Cecile to other vulnerable families in her community. They prayed together, encouraged each other, shared their knowledge and pooled their money and other resources. Cecile said: “When I look back and see all that I have been able to do, it’s all due to the encouragement I received from the group at church … the group also helped me in cultivating crops which helped me earn money in the harvest to pay for school fees and healthcare. “I want my grandchildren to know God, to pray to Him and to understand that He is able to meet all their needs.”

Imakurata’s journey to freedom

Imakurata was widowed in 2002, when she was five months pregnant with her youngest child. She was forced to demean herself in order to find the money to provide for her children. But that all changed when volunteers from her local church, trained by Samaritan’s Purse through Raising Families, reached out to her. Imakurata was invited to join the church, to experience God’s love through prayer, Bible study and fellowship. They also offered her a loan, with no strings attached, through the church’s savings group. Now Imakurata is a different woman – she has a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eyes. With the money she received from the loan she invested in chickens, and through selling the eggs she has paid back the loan to the savings group.