International Service Director John Jordan spoke eloquently, sharing stories from his involvement in Rwanda. More recently there have been challenges for the impoverished women and families in Rwanda. He described progressive changes from subsistence to success.
A request was made to full-time workers in the NGO that there was a ‘need for a roof over our heads’ in a remote mountain region where four homes had been destroyed in a wind storm. John recounted the events that helped the NGO accept this assignment although there were no funds readily available. As a consequence of Jack Petrie offering $5,000 from a fundraising event and workers travelling to the area, staying in a school room, construction of four solid stucco homes,  the families felt they were seen by the rest of the world. It was the first time a father could provide furniture for his family of five and a mother with an autistic grandson could have a home large enough to accommodate church meetings.
John went on to explain the impact of a $3,000 grant for young, unwed mothers near the NGO headquarters. The initiative to set up training programs for 14 women and started with a sewing/training centre in December, 2019. The pandemic hit this project hard in March. However, they fulfilled a contract to create 500 face masks. This increased their confidence and they continue to develop their skills in the women’s cooperative.
An emergency grant of $1,900 recently helped to counter persistent hunger when two packages of food staples were given to each woman. Also help was given to 25 women who created Victory Gardens for growing fresh vegetables.
A further 55 women will benefit from training in government subsidized programs in sewing, hairdressing, shoe making, welding and managing produce markets. John is continuing the work hard and is looking forward to a $7,000 matching grant that will find a way to lift people out of wretched poverty if given just a little help.