Serving God's People in Africa since 1868

Build Housing for Orphans in Rwanda

These days, a lot of people seem to be discussing what it means to be “religious” — to have a belief in God that is demonstrated through words and actions. Even those of us who consider ourselves “spiritual, but not religious” search for ways to express our relationship with that which is sacred. Two thousand years ago, things weren’t much different among the first Christians. One of the first followers of Jesus, St. James, even wrote a letter in which he offers guidance on what “true religion” is. As shown in the quote above, he felt that few things are more important than caring for those who are less fortunate than ourselves — particularly widows and orphans. That is still the case today.


“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure is this: to care for widows and orphans in their distress . . . .”

James 1: 27

These days, a lot of people seem to be discussing what it means to be “religious” — to have a belief in God that is demonstrated through words and actions. Even those of us who consider ourselves “spiritual, but not religious” search for ways to express our relationship with that which is sacred. Two thousand years ago, things weren’t much different among the first Christians. One of the first followers of Jesus, St. James, even wrote a letter in which he offers guidance on what “true religion” is. As shown in the quote above, he felt that few things are more important than caring for those who are less fortunate than ourselves — particularly widows and orphans. That is still the case today.

Workers preparing a foundation to build a new home for Rwandas orphans.

In societies where there are no government support services for the poor — widows and orphans are among those most urgently in need. Many live without basic necessities such as food, water, medical care and adequate housing.

Recently, one of our missionaries, Fr. Simplice Traore, wrote to ask if there is some way we can help the widows and orphans in Kigali, Rwanda, where he lives and works.

“During the Rwandan genocide in 1994,” Fr. Simplice writes, “a young woman began reaching out to women whose husbands had been killed and little children whose parents had been murdered during that tragic time. This young woman became like a mother to the orphans that she gathered. As time went by, the number of orphans increased tremendously — especially since she was taking good care of them. Unfortunately, though, she did not have the resources needed to continue her work. She was all alone. That was 25 years ago.”

A woman gathering adobe bricks to be used for the new home for orphans.

“Since then, more than 100 other women have joined her and they are now officially a congregation of religious Sisters dedicated to serving poor widows and orphans. What a gift these Sisters are!”

“As I write this letter to you, the Sisters are working hard to construct a building where orphan children can live. The need for housing for orphans is critical in this community.

Unfortunately, the Sisters — themselves having little income — do not have the funds to pay any construction costs. They have been able to to acquire a piece of land where a building will be constructed and local people are even willing to help with the labor — but still no one has money to pay for the building.

Constructing the timber frame for the new orphans home in Kigali, Rwanda.

We are hoping that you can help us. Whatever you can give will give all of us hope for a better future for these children.

Reading Fr. Simplice’s letter, I was moved by the willingness of those who have so little themselves to work so hard for those who have even less: the orphan children of Rwanda. My friend, I am hoping that there is some way you can help those who are — quite literally — looking for a place to call home.

First of all, in your own community, you could volunteer to help a non-profit agency that constructs housing for poor families. Perhaps you could help in their next building project (if you are physically able). You could also contact your local government officials and encourage them to make sure that poor and low-income families in your town have emergency housing during times of crisis.

I am also hoping that you will send a donation to help with the construction of the orphans’ residence in Fr. Simplice’s region in Rwanda. While our hope is to raise at least $32,000 for this project and other programs for poor children throughout East Africa, please know that any amount you send will be used to help those who are suffering and in need. God bless you for your generosity!

 

Your Missionary Friend,

Denis P. Pringle
Director of Development