Serving God's People in Africa since 1868

Help Young People in East Africa Get the Skills They Need to Survive

I hope you are well! Your well-being does in fact matter to me and indeed to all of our missionaries. As I have shared with you in the past, as a benefactor of the Missionaries of Africa, you are part of our family. Your kindness, caring, and continued generosity toward those less fortunate are what make our work possible. I am quite sincere when I say that — without you — much of what we do would probably go “undone.” You make a difference . . . in our lives and in the lives of the poor. For this, I can never thank you enough. Now, I am hoping that I can count on you again.


“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

Stephen Covey, Educator & Author

Sr. Nathalie and some of the students in training.

I hope you are well! Your well-being does in fact matter to me and indeed to all of our missionaries. As I have shared with you in the past, as a benefactor of the Missionaries of Africa, you are part of our family. Your kindness, caring, and continued generosity toward those less fortunate are what make our work possible. I am quite sincere when I say that — without you — much of what we do would probably go “undone.” You make a difference . . . in our lives and in the lives of the poor. For this, I can never thank you enough. Now, I am hoping that I can count on you again.

Recently, I received a letter from Sr. Nathalie Lubungu — a Missionary Sister working in Ryakabamba, a small community in northern Burundi, East Africa. With nearly 75% of its people living in poverty, Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is also the second most densely populated country in Africa with about 1200 inhabitants per square mile.

Most Burundians struggle to find enough food to eat. Food insecurity is incredibly high! Nearly half of the men, women and children living in Burundi don’t have enough food to eat on a regular basis. More than half of the children suffer from chronic malnutrition. Additionally, there is very limited access to water and sanitation, and less than 5% of the population has electricity. For the people of Burundi, survival is a daily challenge!

Sr. Nathalie and some of the students selling
their products at the outdoor market

“The people living here — especially teens and young adults — need help learning skills that will enable them to support themselves,” Sr. Nathalie writes. “Many of the young people we meet have been unable to complete school for one reason or another. As a result, they are in desperate, immediate need of developing skills that will enable them to earn money to support themselves. If they can’t earn a living, they could quite literally die from want.”

“We have begun a program to train young men and women in dressmaking, cooking, embroidery, shoe making and other trades,” she continues. “The young people coming to us are desperately poor and need help. We found space to set up a workshop and have purchased some equipment and materials to get started. We have also been helping them not only make the items but sell them as well.”

Sandals made by the young people at Sr. Nathalie’s mission

“The project start-up was made possible by some of the local people. They donated a few tables, some stools and a few sewing machines. But since there are so many young people who need our help, we need to purchase much more equipment and many more items. Among those items we need are more sewing machines, needles, cloth, thread, and scissors; cooking items such as utensils, pots and pans, dishes, glasses; shoemaking materials such as leather and fabric . . . please, is there some way you can help our young people get the skills they need to survive?”

As I read Sr. Nathalie’s letter, I thought about the challenges young people in our own country face as well — and what how you might help them. For example, if you know a young person struggling to find summer work, perhaps you could offer to pay them to mow your lawn every couple of weeks. You could also talk to your community leaders about providing job fairs for young people — to help them better understand how to discover the jobs they may be best suited for.

I am also hoping you will send a gift to help support Sr. Nathalie’s work among the young people in in Burundi — as well as other educational projects. While we need to raise at least $32,500 for this and other programs serving the poor, please know that any amount you send will help those who are struggling to live! Thank you again for all that you continue to do. God bless you!

 

Your Missionary Friend,

Denis P. Pringle
Director of Development