Written by Lauren Rudat - The Focus on Missions Committee at St. Paul’s was very encouraged by an update from Rwanda on two completed housing projects this past month. The Rural Development Inter-Diocesan Service (RDIS) is the organization through which we support the building of homes for the most in need in rural Rwanda.
In the last several months, two families were identified in the Shyogwe and Cyangugu diocese. A carefully chosen committee of RDIS staff, a community leader, and local church leader identified and met with the families to make the selection. As you can imagine, the need for housing in Rwanda is great, and it is difficult to narrow down the selection according to the available funds. The criteria for RDIS include being homeless or living in extremely poor conditions, being on the first or second social economic category according to Rwanda’s Ubudehe scale, having a willingness to contribute materials and labor to the project, and being recommended by the local church and government leader.
Ubudehe is a way of classifying socio-economic status to identify individuals who can benefit from social programming. The first category is defined by owning no property, living on begging and help from others. The second category is for individuals who have no housing, work for others for income, own no property or cattle, and can only feed themselves minimally.
The first home was for Pascasie Mukankusi. She is a widow with two children in primary school. She farms a very small piece of land to make a living for her family. Her house began construction on July 14, 2020 and was completed by August 31, 2020. The house is made of mud bricks, stones, iron sheets, and cement. A gift of a toilet, a solar panel, and some basic furnishings was given alongside the home.
Pascasie said, “We are very happy for owning such a comfortable big house, our dreams to get a home for us is nearly coming to concrete…The new house will allow us to accommodate different guests and ourselves, from now onward no more fear because of roof oozing when it rains. May the Almighty God bless abundantly our donors together as they think on people like ourselves.”
In Cyangugu, the family identified was that of Valens Mushimiyamana. He, his wife, and 5 children lived in a crude home that was poorly made and at risk of being damaged by the elements. His house was completed on September 15, 2020 and they had a special event to cut the ribbon with church and government leaders, and RDIS staff.
Valens reports, “It was a miracle when we were visited…during the selection process because we didn’t have a living house and we thank God, RDIS and the donors (who) enabled us to own such wonderful home! We have been praying for a long time to God and now we are happy.”
The two homes and their basic furnishings were completed for under $8,500.00 CAD. What a gift it is to be able to share our resources to bless those most in need. God can do so much with what we give! We were particularly pleased with this report because it was completed with such care and attention to detail. Our partners in RDIS, including Viateur and Eric, have been accountable for the funds we’ve sent, down to the last Rwandan franc spent on nails! God has answered our prayers to have good communication and accountability with our Rwandan partners, and this is evidence of that.