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Village of Hope

Nyarugunga, Rwanda

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heartBeloved Community – Connecting Continents

What Better Looks Like lives our mission in many ways. In the Village of Hope, Nyarugunga, Rwanda, we are working to lift the people out of extreme poverty. We focus on educational scholarships and vocational training for adults who are then afforded the ability to earn a living income, and help others. All those in the Village of Hope are invited to ‘give something back’ to contribute to the creation of the Beloved Community.

Join us in helping these amazing people step away from hunger and into hope through a “Heart-to-Heart Connection.”

Education for Life

This program offers bright, enthusiastic and deserving young people a life-altering university education, providing tuition, fees, transportation, books, and supplies. As of spring 2018, with the support of all of our very generous donors:

  • 13 Bachelor’s Degree students have graduated and have highly increased earning potential! Click here to meet our graduates.
  • 10 new students enrolled in life-changing university education! Click here to meet our current students.

Vocation for Life

What Better Looks Like provided a teacher in the Village of Hope, training women to use sewing machines. With sewing/dressmaking skills, a person in Rwanda has many opportunities open to them. Clothing in Rwanda is predominantly obtained through either second-hand donations, or through purchase of fabric that is selected by the buyer, and given to a dressmaker to make into a garment. A sewer/dressmaker can work for someone in a shop, start their own business, or sew children’s school uniforms.

  • 12 women have completed the vocational training! Click here to hear what some of the sewing graduates have to say.

Literacy for Life

The people of Rwanda speak Kinyarwandan, French, Swahili and English, but several years ago the government began to encourage English as the instructional language. And so, we are looking for ways to support development of English skills for the Village. At the 2016 What Better Looks Like Heart to Heart Gala, books were collected and a the Village of Hope lending library, the “Isomero,” was established!

Well Being for Life

Many people in the Village of Hope have experienced significant trauma and work hard to overcome the effects. What Better Looks Like has Provided skills training to interested residents to assist them in managing and working through the effects of trauma using evidence-based mindfulness, breath and body awareness skills.

heartHow did we make the remarkable connection with this village?

One of the women of What Better Looks Like, Marie Ukeye, had relocated to New York City from Rwanda. She had been attending her third year of medical school in Rwanda when the genocide began on April 7, 1994, lasting 3 months and killing nearly 1 million people in a country of 7 million. She lost many loved ones and vowed to find a way to help survivors. In 2010, Marie took a group of us with her to visit her beloved Rwanda where we got to know the people in Nyarugunga Village. The residents have all lived through the unspeakable 1994 genocide or the traumatic aftermath. Many suffer debilitating illness or injury, or were children left to raise their younger siblings after they lost their parents. Yet they proudly call their home the “Village of Hope.”

The village is home to about 350 people who have been identified by the Rwandan government as people in need and have been provided very modest housing, without plumbing and with limited electricity. Hunger is prevalent with children and adults. These residents are considered the “poorest of the poor.” About half of the residents are age 19 or under. The people of the Village of Hope have very basic needs: food, clothing, education and a way to make a living. They need concrete help today.

heartImpact of the What Better Looks Like Heart-to-Heart Connection

We invite you to follow the project, help make it successful, and celebrate with us as we see the positive changes and impact. The images below depict the 60 Households and approximately 350 residents, averaging 6 people per household.

2010 to 2018

heartWhat Better Looks Like – visit to Rwanda

heartPLANNING FOR ‘PEACE’

heartCHANGING LIVES. GIVING REAL HOPE. Click here to make the heart-to heart connection.

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