Megan Reunited with Boys after 3.5 Years!

This holiday school break has been a very special time for the boys at HFLM. After being apart for three-and-a-half years, the children were reunited with co-founder Megan Chao and her husband, Yao! It was a very joyous reunion full of basketball, games, and making new memories together.

The highlight for most children, however, was traveling to Rwanda’s national safari park to view wildlife for the first time. Squeals of delight and surprise filled the bus as zebras, giraffes, monkeys, and warthogs sprinted around us. With an enormous grin shining from his face, 16-year-old Olivier exclaimed, “This is my favorite trip of my whole life!” It was truly a special day that will always be remembered. Click here to view a glimpse of the safari.

Megan and Yao visiting HFLM and taking the boys on their first Safari!

Yao playing with Benjamin and Claude.

The boys’ vacations have also been enriched by a remarkable young woman, Amanda Good. Amanda is a volunteer from Colorado who has committed to living and serving in Rwanda for the next two years. She brings deep passion and talent to our team and has been busy assisting our Directors, developing sustainability projects, and leading weekly Bible studies for our children and staff, among many other responsibilities. She recently made prayer journals for each of the boys that have been an immensely powerful resource for them to record their prayers, thoughts, and emotions, while also developing their personal relationships with Jesus. One boy wrote, “I remember when You picked me from the street. I didn’t realize that I could stop that life but You showed me that You are able as God. You didn’t stop there. You helped my family. It is not easy for us as humans, but for You, it is simple. Thank You so much for that. I need You to put me among your servants forever and ever.”

Amanda spending time with Claude, who goes by his nickname “Littleman.”
We are immensely grateful for Amanda’s commitment to serve alongside us, and we rejoice at the fruit already being displayed from her efforts. If you would like to follow Amanda’s journey in Rwanda, please visit her blog.

We hope you had a terrific holiday season, and we look forward to partnering with you in 2015 for our sixth year of ministry in Rwanda!



HFLM Rescues Two New Boy

We are delighted to announce that Hope For Life Ministry accepted two new boys into our program last month. We are honored to introduce our new friends to you!

Irakiza outside his new home at HFLM

Five-year-old Irakizi is the youngest member of our HFLM family. He has a huge personality and brings great creativity and energy to the home. He can often be found exploring our property, creating games, and making others smile with his contagious laughter. When asked why he likes HFLM, Irakiza responded, “I like Hope For Life because they give me food and meat and French fries and potatoes and bread!” Irakiza, however, hasn’t always been so happy. He spent his young life on Rwanda’s streets, finding meals in the garbage dump and was the victim of regular physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. When another children’s center called us saying they found a boy too young for their program, we excitedly welcomed Irakiza into our family.

Valence after being accepted into HFLM’s home

17-year old Valence is a quiet and humble young man who had been living on the streets in HFLM’s neighborhood for the past four years. Valence grew up living with his grandmother. When she passed away, the sons of his grandmother told him to go to his father’s family, because they were worried he might inherit their land. Valence sought out his father and found him living in such severe poverty that he couldn’t even afford to buy food, let alone pay for school fees. Valence decided that life on the streets would be better than starving at home. Two years ago, we met Valence when he began coming to HFLM’s outreach program, where he would wash his clothes, eat a nutritious meal, receive counseling, and pray with our staff. After showing significant growth and a motivation to live a changed life, we brought him to live at our HFLM home. He is enjoying his new family, and we are all thrilled to have him with us!

Both Irakiza and Valence are in need of sponsors. If you are interested in supporting them partially or in full, please visit our sponsorship page

Your support is empowering children who have lost hope to have an opportunity for new life. As the Christmas season approaches, we are reminded of God’s great love for us and that He is the Father to the fatherless. God bless and Merry Christmas! 


“I’m deeply moved by the healing and hope that HFLM brings to children and I feel honored to have been a part of it. God is so present here. The word transformative gets thrown around often but this work truly IS transformative.” –Torey de Rozario

This month, the boys and staff of HFLM said goodbye to Torey de Rozario after over two years of service. Torey’s hard work has powerfully shaped HFLM and her impact will continue as she continues to serve the ministry stateside. Under Torey’s leadership, HFLM has transitioned all of our children over to private English school, developed a robust family empowerment program, trained and transitioned leadership over to Chantal and Marie Clarice, and raised over $65,000! Torey brought unity and life to our children and staff as she so naturally emits love to those around her. We have become our best with Torey around us and we could not be more grateful for her outpouring of skills, time, and heart into HFLM. 

Torey and Benjamin, before she headed back to the USA on November 4th.

One of Torey’s most life changing experiences was rescuing and naming two five-year old twins. These twins had only been called “boy” and “girl” and endured heart-breaking abuse while fending for themselves on the streets. Through HFLM, Benjamin and Grace are now learning their identity through their heavenly father and know they are deeply loved.

One year later, Benjamin and Grace have just completed their first year of school! They have been given a whole new world of opportunities through education, counseling, and the love of their new families. After only one year in school, Benjamin is already one of HFLM’s strongest English speakers and often translates for the other boys. Benjamin’s confidence, discipline and deep joy are touching to witness. He frequently goes out of his way to help others, and the biggest smile appears on his face every time he is told what a good boy he is. HFLM remains closely connected with Grace as well, who lives in a nearby home for girls and regularly visits to receive counseling and play with her brother. To watch Benjamin and Grace’s full story on youtube, click here.

Benjamin and Grace’s radical transformation from an identity and life on the streets gives us a glimpse into God’s deep love and justice for his children. They are such a strong testament to the freedom and healing He is bringing and we are so honored to be doing this work with you!

Thank you to each of you who participated in our recent fundraisers in Edmonds, Washington and Vail, Colorado! Together, we raised nearly $24,000 to continue our transformative work with vulnerable children. We are so grateful!
Edmonds, WA Benefit Dinner from left to right: Co-Founders Chantal, Hilliary, Megan, pianist Jason Coult, HFLM Board President Christophe.



An Important Milestone – Rwandan Leadership

Our strategic vision has always been to equip indigenous Rwandan leaders to care for their own community themselves. Over the last year, we have been training and preparing Co-Founder and Program Director Chantal Umutesi, and Administrative Director Marie Clarice Nyachio, to run the operations of HFLM in Rwanda. We are excited to announce that at the beginning of this month, these ladies will begin co-directing HFLM. Over the past five years, God has used each of our American Directors’ unique talents to build a strong foundation for HFLM, to develop our programs, and to progress HFLM’s sustainability through developing Rwandan leadership. We are incredibly grateful for Torey de Rozario, who served as Executive Director for the past year and headed up the leadership transition. Torey will be completing her last month serving in Rwanda, and we would like to congratulate her on her hard work and for accomplishing our long standing goal!

Marie Clarice and Benjamin

Torey and Chantal

The Executive Director position will be split between Chantal Umutesi and Marie Clarice. Marie Clarice and Chantal beautifully balance each other in education, experience, and skill sets. We believe this change will bring a new strength to HFLM and a deeper connection with our mission to bring healing and hope to vulnerable Rwandan children as Rwandans take the lead in the Ministry. Torey will remain in Rwanda for another month, play an active advisor role upon returning to America for 6 months to ensure a smooth transition, and will then join the Board of Directors.

Chantal reeceiving kisses from Benjamin and Claude

We are thankful for God’s guidance during these times of transition. He has proved over and over again that HFLM is HIS ministry and that HE will be the one to sustain and lead it. Please join us in praying for our new directors and celebrating this important milestone in our journey.



We Love Our Volunteers

Over the past five years since our inception, Hope For Life has been greatly impacted by the countless individuals who have generously shared their resources, talents, and time. They continue to make our work with the children on the streets possible.
One such individual we’ve depended on in numerous ways over the last year is Charlie Gladitsch.  After graduating in 2013, Charlie jumped at the opportunity to volunteer a year of his time as the HFLM Sustainability Coordinator. Over the past several years, we have wanted to focus more on self-sufficiency as an organization. That has been possible recently as a result of Charlie’s dedication. Here are just some of the things that have happened under Charlie’s creative leadership:

  • A water catchment system was designed and built, which provides clean water and reduces water costs
  • New farming techniques were developed that improve our ability to grow food and reduce our food costs
  • Construction of a chicken coup and development of a plan to allow the boys to eat one of our goats each month which increases the boys’ protein intake
  • A new sponsorship program was created
  • An innovative and interactive communication workshop was held for our staff
  • A new basketball court was funded and built

Charlie visits Baby and Pacifique at boarding school
Those were just a few of the extensive projects that Charlie orchestrated and was the mastermind behind. And now Charlie is hosting a fundraiser in his hometown of Vail, Colorado on October 3rd. He saw firsthand that committed donors play a central role in HFLM’s sustainability.  Charlie exemplifies self-sacrifice, innovation, and generosity on a daily basis and we are so grateful for the role he plays.

Here’s a huge hug and a heartfelt thank you to each one of you who helps make transformation on Rwanda’s streets possible each month. Together we are making a difference.



Business Loan Reunites Family

We are honored to invite you to a benefit dinner and silent auction on October 12th! Spend the evening with HFLM’s three co-founders (Chantal Umutesi is coming all the way from Rwanda!) to learn more about our transformative work and raise money to provide for the incredible children that have come into our lives. To learn more and RSVP for the event, click here

Over the past three years, we have been able to transition 11 boys from our center into their families’ homes. Although the work of reconciliation is difficult and requires extensive time and energy from all parties involved, seeing a child who was once living alone on the streets now smiling with his family, makes it all worth it. It has been amazing seeing God work in the families of our boys, and we want share Eric’s and Simeon’s stories with you.

Eric’s Story

8-year-old Eric came to HFLM covered with scabies with his life in danger. HFLM’s Children’s Director, Chantal, says, “The boys who lived with Eric on the streets were so violent. They used to beat him and give him drugs… it took him 3 weeks to recover upon coming to HFLM.” Over the past two years, HFLM has helped Eric’s mom, Yvette, leave an abusive relationship and relocate to a neighborhood near HFLM. She now sees Eric almost every day and is even employed tending our small vegetable farm. We are hopeful that as Yvette grows in stability, Eric will soon be able to return home. To “meet” Eric and his mom, watch his testimony on youtube by clicking here.

Simeon’s Story6-year-old Simeon arrived at HFLM in 2009 as an extremely malnourished, shy, and sick child. His parents love him deeply but were unable to provide for his physical needs with their extremely small income of $18 per month.

Left: Simeon when we took him into HFLM; Right: Simeon now

Over the next three and a half years, HFLM staff worked extensively with his parents to develop their ability to generate enough income to meet their family’s needs. This journey began by connecting them with a local savings group where they participated in devotionals and learned basic business skills. Shortly after, HFLM helped them develop a business plan and granted them a loan to start a small shop. Each quarter, Simeon’s father would walk three hours to make his loan payment and never missed a single one. Through his new business, he has doubled his monthly income and Simeon was able to return to live with his parents and nine siblings in 2012.

HFLM staff visits Simeon (center in) and his family at their home.

Due to their demonstrated character, the success of their business and their commitment to honesty, we have recently granted their family a second loan of $240. By next year, Simeon’s family will have raised their monthly income to $50, enabling them to increase their provisions to their children.

To read more highlights of our work, view our 2013 annual report. Thank you for your participation in building God’s kingdom in Rwanda. We are deeply grateful for each one of you!


July 2014 – Sustainability & Water

For the past several years, HFLM has been pursuing ideas related to our self-sufficiency as an organization. One such idea has been a water distribution project to supply water for our home and farming operations. Last fall, HFLM was connected with Santa Clara University and two seniors, Colin and Scott, chose HFLM as their project for their Senior Engineering Design Course. During this course, they designed a rain catcher water system for HFLM that would meet 100% of our water demand during the rainy season and up to 50% of our needs during the dry season. Over the course of the school year, they spent hours studying Rwanda’s rainfall, HFLM’s water usage and our housing architecture.

Colin and Scott with the boys and staff at HFLM

As Colin and Scott became invested into their project, they decided that they wanted to personally visit the boys and build the water system themselves. After much fundraising to cover all the building and travel costs, Colin and Scott arrived in April and spent the next two weeks living with the boys and bringing their project into fruition. The system catches rainfall from our roof and funnels it into two large tanks where the water is purified and dispersed throughout the house.
One of the best parts of their trip was that they had our older boys work alongside them to construct the water system. 19-year-old Baby and 16-year-old Ja’ Rule quickly became experts in using the power drill and would stay up late into the night with head lamps on to assist and collect tools for Colin and Scott. Since the older boys helped build the entire water system, they understand it and are fully capable of making any future repairs themselves!
Ja’ Rule and Baby using the power drill to install the rain catcher pipes.
We are extremely grateful for Colin and Scott. Choosing our project was a blessing in itself, but going the extra 9,000 miles to build the system and raise all the funds was amazing! Our new water system will reduce our overhead costs each month and ensures that we will have water amidst the frequent water outages that are experienced in our community. Not only will this save us up to $700 a year on water bills, but more importantly, it enables the boys to have easy access to clean water. Hooray!

Left: The boys rolling the new water tank to the top of the hill. Right: The low maintenance sand filter that purifies the rain water.
We love our community of supporters and are truly blown away by the creative ways you merge your talents and skills with our needs. We are blessed!



June 2014 – Professionalism Field Trip

With your help over the past five years, our boys have grown into young men before our eyes. As the oldest youth continue succeeding in secondary school, we have increasingly focused on preparing them for their futures beyond formal education. We recently partnered with Karisimbi Business Partners and Asili Natural Oils to take our eldest six youth on a professional field trip. To prepare for the day, the boys spent time learning about professionalism, practicing hand shakes, and learning to introduce themselves with confidence, eye contact, and clear voices. 19-year old Paul was so excited for the field trip that he couldn’t sleep the night before. When the day of their trip finally arrived, these young men took an hour and a half to get ready! They were bursting with anticipation and excitement. 

From left to right: Jon Porter of Karisimbi Business Partners, David, D’Amour, Paul, Baby, Jack & Pacifique
David, D’Amour, Paul, Baby, Jack, and Pacifique visited Asili Natural Oils and spent the day job shadowing and learning about business, professionalism, and future careers offered within the field. They were inspired by a current employee who was a former street child. This man was hired after completing school, and he shared that through hard work and integrity, he was promoted multiple times and is now a supervisor. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience for our youth to see that after they complete secondary school, a future career is indeed attainable. 19-year-old Baby said of the experience, “Seeing their company gave me hope. I saw that you can start at something small but through hard work, you can develop. I can make it in life. I’m so happy for this experience.”

After the visit, the manager of Asili Natural Oils commented on how impressed he was by our boys’ focus and attentiveness. Because of how professionally our boys behaved, we are now coordinating with Asili management possible internships this coming winter.

We are so proud of our young men! Five years ago, their only dream was to survive. Today, they are not only exploring potential careers, but have developed hope, self-confidence, and a strong work ethic. May the hope that is so tangibly displayed in these young men’s futures bring you great encouragement. They could not have gotten to where they are without the HFLM community at large standing beside them. Thank you!



Merry Christmas from Hope For Life!

Hope For Life Update December 2010
This month HFLM welcomes our 23rd member, 13-year-old Djuhudi. The day of Djuhudi’s arrival, the boys began cleaning the house and washing Djuhudi’s new clothes and bedding completely on their own initiative. When Djuhudi finally arrived, the boys ran to him with hugs and immediately began showing him around the house. Djuhudi is an intelligent and inquisitive boy, who is overcoming severe malnutrition from street life. After being abandoned by his immediate family and abused by his extended family, Djuhudi left for the streets. When asked his opinion about HFLM a week into his stay, Djuhudi replied to his social worker, “I like it there. They actually care about how I’m doing and they take good care of me. I don’t want to leave.” Please join us in praying for Djuhudi’s transition into HFLM, asking God for holistic healing, that Djuhudi will not be tempted to leave, and that he’ll come to know Jesus.
Most of the children have returned from visits to their extended family members during their school vacation. The majority of their journeys were successful and they returned to HFLM happy to have seen their relatives. One of the older boys was finally able to reconcile with his family after not seeing them for five years. Because of the positive outcomes, we plan on pursuing further family involvement in HFLM this coming year.
During the children’s school vacation, HFLM staff were able to spend a lot more time with the boys. We’ve enjoyed attending a national soccer match, completing small projects around the house, playing, and studying together. While on a bus earlier this month, the eldest boy, Paul, turned to the staff and randomly stated in perfect English, “You are a gift from God in my life.”
We are so thankful for our sweet boys, our new staff, and the overwhelming peace and joy that have filled our home over the past few months. We are grateful for your support and prayers and want you to be encouraged by knowing that God is not only hearing our prayers, but is thoroughly answering them. Thank you for partnering with us in 2010! We wish you a Christmas full of thankfulness, joy and peace!
Megan Swanson & Hilliary Anderson

November HFLM Update – Good news!

Hope For Life Update November 2010
We have much good news from Rwanda to celebrate this month! The boys have officially completed their first academic school year, many for the first time in their lives. Two boys received the highest test scores in their class for the entire school year! The oldest boy has passed his exams and will enter secondary school in January. One of our former boys, Claude, also returned to HFLM after leaving for the streets for 5 months. Futhermore, we are starting our family reconciliation program, where each child has the opportunity to visit any existing relatives – we’ve even been able to locate one child’s extended family all the way in Burundi!
Additionally, construction on our new “Hovde House” has finally begun! 6 of the children who do not wish to visit their relatives are staying at HFLM for their holidays. When asked what they’d like to do during their time off of school, they replied, “We want to help build our new house! We can carry rocks and chop bushes and sweep!” Construction is set to be finished mid-February 2011, at which point all staff and children will happily move into our new home.

At the construction site, our land is scattered with lush fruit trees. 7-year-old Emmanuel began helping to pick the ripened fruit, stuffing every pocket he owned full of small mangoes. When local poor children arrived half naked and with bloated stomachs, little Emmanuel looked down at his full pockets, then at the kids, back at his pockets, and back at the children. Suddenly, an idea came to him and a sweet, shy smile began to spread across his face. He reached into his pockets, took out all the mangoes he had and started passing them to all the little kids. I love seeing Jesus in our boys!
Sincerely and gratefully,
Megan & Hilliary

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