In the East of Rwanda in a rural area of Gatsibo is a Church built on land that supports many poor villagers of different faiths including 70 + women who have HIV due to the legacy of the Genocide that ended in 1994.
The simple Church hosts a school where more than 150 children receive a daily main meal & in many cases, the meal will be all they have to eat in a week. At least 60 of the children attend school free because they are orphans or have mothers with HIV, who due to prejudice, fear & ignorance are unable to get work as no one will work with them & so they & their children go hungry due to lack of income.
The mothers suffer further due to poverty, because even though the Rwandan government provides free medication to people with HIV, it must be taken with food or it is too aggressive to tolerate. Consequently, many poor mother’s leave their children orphans because they cannot take the medication to keep them alive as they have no access to food to eat and so they die.
A Pastor at the Church formed an HIV support group & when I visited, the woman told me their stories. They said there were many more women who could not attend because they were too ill and nor could their children go to the school as they had no clothes & were ashamed.
They said, those that had work on the land tried to help the others & that some of them saved a tiny amount each week, I asked them what they were saving for & they said coffins so that they could be decently buried. This is their immediate future without food or work, so they know that if they go hungry, they will die very soon. This is their shared fate.
The Church bought the group two sewing machines so that they could learn a trade & work from the back of the building, but the women number 70 & more & they urgently need more machines & a building to work from before it is too late.
We want to help the women to make a secure building where they can meet, with room for at least 10 sewing machines, tables & storage so that they can learn a trade, support themselves, each other & their families on a sustainable rolling programme. Then maybe they will not need the coffins so soon as they will be able to eat, take their medication, earn a living & look after their children safely.
CDUK provided the Church School with 2 water harvesting tanks in 2020 to help the feeding programme & we were preparing to raise money for the second stage of the project - A sewing Cooperative for the HIV mothers.
However on the 17th June 2021 the Bishop Enock died unexpectedly at an early age & so CDUK are running a crowd funder in memory of The Bishop, a most wonderful & selfless man in order to complete the project in his name. When we raise the money I will go out to the village for 3 months to work with the other pastors to make sure the project is completed & running as we had agreed before Enock died. We do this in memory of him & for all those who loved & respected him and to continue his work. Please support this project as generously as you can afford and share it with your friends and on social media. Your actions will save many lives. Thank you