Generously supported by my family in California and Colorado, I’ve made my way to Rwanda to work with Hilliary for the next four months. Along with general administrative tasks, my main focus will be empowering the families of those being reintegrated. To help with this task, five interns from my alma mater business school at CU Boulder are partnering with us. They will be researching income-generating projects for the boys and their families along with potential partnerships with other NGO’s in the area. We’ll keep you posted on the progress!
With sustainability in mind, Stuart and I have spent much of our time with the boys farming at the home. With a new plan in place we hope to save $100 USD every three months by growing our greatest food expenses! It’s quite a scene with the older boys hard at work breaking up the solid dirt, the younger boys climbing the trees to avoid their morning chore, and the whole neighborhood gathering to point and laugh as three, white “muzungus” are out farming alongside everyone. With the language barrier extremely visible, it’s been a great way to bond over our task at hand. Stuart and I are so excited to be here and grateful to be apart of God’s plan for HFLM!
Our two volunteers: Torey and Stuart
We have witnessed God’s faithfulness in guiding HFLM the last four years and believe that the new season we are entering is the next step in continuing to follow His direction. The Rwandan government is in the process of reintegrating all children from institutes into families. In compliance, we are working to do what is best for the boys by intentionally reconnecting them with their immediate families, extended families, and church sponsors. We are confident that this new direction of partnering with Rwandan families will offer our children an improved loving and supportive environment. Our goal is to take a holistic approach toplace each of our boys into loving families by December 2013.
In the year ahead we are working to prepare the boys for returning to their families, empowering the families to receive their children, and equipping them with the skills to provide for their children. In preparation to accomplish these goals, we have recruited two interns, Torey and Stuart, who are counseling the boys and preparing the families.
One of our strategies in this process has been developing a network of families through a newly started mentorship program. In joint venture with the local church, we have paired each boy with a participating family. This program works to help our boys have a godly male role model, experience a healthy family setting, and begin to dissolve the negative stereotype towards Rwandan street kids.
This past Sunday, Simeon’s mentor who is the Pastor at the boys’ church, took him overnight to join in with a family party. Simeon was thrilled to report that he got to drink Fanta, eat plantains and cassava, and played with other kids. Paul’s mentor declared, “Paul is now my son, and if he ever doesn’t have somewhere to go, he can come in my house as a son.” We are so blessed to see how God is alive in the hearts of our community.
Claude seeing his sister and grandmother for the first time!
One of the boys who we were worried it would be difficult to reintegrate was little Claude. After a year long search for any living family of little Claude’s, we finally made contact with his grandmother who had lost all hope that Claude was alive. Claude’s excitement at visiting his grandmother could be seen in the bounce in his walk, his energetic demeanor, and a smile that would not leave his face. When we took Claude to visit her, it was indeed a joyous reunion and they eagerly took Claude into their home. The grandmother was overjoyed to see her grandson again and Claude couldn’t stop hugging his sister. We are so grateful that we were able to reunite Claude with a loving family, and we feel confident that he will prosper in his new home. With all of the children being reintegrated, we are looking at options for the future of HFLM. We would like to continue running HFLM as a family centered home for street children and are searching for someone to come alongside of Hilliary to help carry the torch. In the meantime, we are continuing to work with government officials to verify homes like ours will indeed be allowed to remain open after 2014. Please be praying for us in these three powerful ways: 1) for God to give us clear direction and wisdom with the reintegration plan, 2) for a torch bearer, and 3) for the future functions of the home. Thank you again for all of your encouragement and continued support!
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