Rudi International Year in Review – 2015

“Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Proverb 31:9
With God’s grace, you have helped us do just that this past year. Let’s walk back to 2015 and count our blessings together!

-Alain Rafiki, Co-Founder & President at Rudi International, non-profit

2015 was a very exciting year for Rudi International.  We are so thankful for your continued support as we strive to make a difference in Goma, DR Congo.  Please read on to catch a few of the highlights from 2015!  We certainly can not contain all of God’s goodness and blessing in one update. So, after reading these highlights, please feel free to check out our website, additional hyperlinks, and our Facebook page for a more in-depth look into our programs.

  • Encourage Mothers
  • Rudi Education
  • Rudi for Women and Girls Online

Please read the entire newsletter here and remember to subscribe to our mailing list so you are first in the know: Rudi International Year in Review – 2015

 

We Say Thank You!

Christmas Project 2015 = Amazing Success!

Thank you to each and everyone who donated, shared, and prayed for this event. Over and over again, you overwhelmed us with your support and kindness. A special thanks to Mrs. H.G. who joined the Rudi team to help head up this project. We can not thank you enough for all the time you spent behind the scenes making this campaign a success. Thank you to all our friends who joined in on our social media #UNselfie campaign through the community at Divine Moments. You rallied, shared and gave. Thank you for putting love in action.

This year we also had several generous friends who provided matching donations at various times. We can not thank you enough for rallying with us in this way and making our 2015 Christmas Project a success.

Rudi-International-Christmas-Project-2015

Fun at the Rudi Christmas Event

We have captured some highlights on video for you: This video shows some of the best moments of our 2015 Christmas celebration as it happened in Goma, Eastern Congo. For the past 4 years, we have been celebrating Christmas as part of our Rudi Education program, gathering 400+ community members, including our 70+ sponsored students.

Art classes for the children enrolled in Rudi Education

This year, we partnered again with BADEN Development, a youth-led organization specialized in arts, handcrafts etc. They spent two days with the kids working on jewelry, earrings, bracelets, and postcards using local materials. It was yet another opportunity for the kids to be involved in these kinds of exercises such as drawing on boards and on papers, and different types of arts. Every day from 8am to 2pm, they worked on various projects. At the end of the day, before going back home, the children in attendance were provided a refreshment.

The BADEN team was overseen by our Rudi volunteers who spent their time supporting the kids working on various projects. This was a great opportunity for the kids to develop their art senses, abilities and curiosity. These activities help the children imagine, brainstorm, create and challenge their senses. It helps them to get out of their comfort zone and produce something new. At the end the workshop they were all excited at their accomplishment. All of the produced materials/crafts are being kept at our office. We hope to be able to sell them to people who are interested in art.

Encourage Mothers’ Workshop

Through our Encourage Mothers’ program, we gathered some of the mothers of our sponsored kids. They gathered together to not only celebrate Christmas but also to participate in a workshop to learn new culinary skills. Malnutrition is one of the issues and reasons leading to deaths of children in the community.

The mothers spent three days learning and practicing innovative ways of learning how to use inexpensive food items to make meals containing nutrients that their children need.

“You don’t need to be rich or to have a lot of money in order to provide good food to your kids. You only need to know how you can use the same dishes you are eating everyday to produce healthy meals for your family and kids”, said Jeanet, our program coordinator for Encourage Mothers.

Christmas Day Community Celebration

Early in the morning, the children and other community members attended their local churches. After they returned from church they joined us at the school where the Christmas celebration has taken place for the past four years. Rudi volunteers arrived early Christmas morning and began preparations for the event. By 10 am, almost everyone had arrived at the school to begin the celebration.

Activities included a soccer tournament for the boys, dances for the girls and different games that included all the children. These activities started around 10 am and wrapped up around 3 pm. At around 3pm the team started to serve food to everyone who was in attendance. We reach nearly 400 people in this community event every year. Christmas Project 2015 was another great success and was an amazing celebration for the whole Lac Vert community.

A group picture of the winners of the soccer game. The soccer game is played with a Misson Ball that has the gosepl written on it is Swahili. This ball was donated last year by our amazing supporters.

A group picture of the winners of the soccer game. The soccer game is played with a Misson Ball that has the gosepl written on it is Swahili. This ball was donated last year by our amazing supporters.

This community expressed many times their gratefulness for Rudi International continuing to spend Christmas with them year after year. We could not put on this event without our amazing in-country team of volunteers. Over 10 people came from Goma city and spent the day with us. They joined our other Rudi volunteers in helping take care of the children and brought new exciting activities to make the day a memorable experience.

“For the past 4 years, I am no longer celebrating Christmas with my own family or my church community but spending with the people that need it the most, the people who have no other opportunity to celebrate. Living in the city, we have so many opportunities. I am humbled and thankful to God who is allowing me to be part of Rudi International’s work with communities in need”, commented, John one of our volunteers.

Thank you to each and everyone of our volunteers who joined us this Christmas to celebrate with joy and hope the birth of Jesus Christ, who is the reason we do what we do. If you would like to see more pictures besides the ones included in this newsletter please go here: Christmas Project 2015 Pictures.

A picture of Rudi International Volunteers and beneficiary children rejoicing together as they remember the birth of Christ and the meaning of giving of oneself to others.

Rudi International Volunteers and beneficiary children rejoicing together as they remember the birth of Christ and the meaning of giving of oneself to others.

 

Rudi Christmas Project 2015

Children celebrate the birth of Jesus with the volunteers at Rudi International

It is that time of the year again! You can be part of what God is doing in Eastern DRC as the populations of this war-torn region of Central Africa are making progress towards peace. Following is how and why you may give joy this year to the same people.

Each December, Rudi International hosts our biggest outreach event of the year which we call our Christmas Project.  This project includes workshops and a Christmas meal for the community that feeds over 500 people.  The Rudi International team also hosts lots of organized games and activities on Christmas day for a fun celebration to bring Christmas Joy to the community.

The main part of the actual event is providing a substantial meal to several in the community while taking the opportunity to deliver to them the actual reason of the celebration which is the birth of Christ Jesus, the Only One by whose name all flesh are saved. We also deliver gifts, such as food items and some other non-foods to the parents of the children in our Education Program.

Your donation will pour hope and love into a community in Eastern DR Congo and isn’t that the best Christmas gift we can give?

Please join in and give today. Matching funds up to $500 available for those who give before December 8th 2015.

What is my response?

From the US, to Paris, to Syria, to the D.R. Congo we all are humans.

I sit here today and my emotions are clouded by a week that was just full of tragedy, heartache, and  unanswered questions.  It was on a personal level filtering to friends and family that I love and then hit globally as news came in from the DR Congo and Paris, France.  The flood of emotions threatening to… Read More

Our repost of Divine Moment’s : What is my response?

Empowering Future Digital Citizens

Rudi International Executive Director, Arsène Tungali at an international conference on child protection and safe use of the Information Technology in Africa.

Here at Rudi International, we like it when Africa takes interest and leadership in matters that affect her own children. This is true even for child safety in this increasingly dangerous digitized world.

From October 25 to 26, 2015 in Cairo, Egypt a group of talented young men and women met under the auspice of the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in conjunction with one of Rudi International’s partner organizations the ITU’s Regional Office for a conference called “ITU Regional Strategy Workshop on Child Online Protection (COP) for the Arab Region: Empowering the future digital citizens.”

According to an article by John Carr, a member of the Executive Board of the UK Council on Child Internet Safety, these future citizens of the digital world discussed several important questions touching the future as well as the very present of the continent.

How do we help parents understand the Internet better so they, in turn, can help their children? How do we help teachers get up to speed and stay up? How do we mobilize the political will and resources to make sure we reach every child and every school, not just those who live in urban areas or in better off neighbourhoods? How do we mobilize the political will and resources to make sure law enforcement have the right tools? What kind of technical measures are available to assist with the project and how well do they work? What can we reasonably expect companies to do voluntarily and what part does regulation play?

At Rudi International, we hold workshops to address several of these issues and are constantly on the look out for policy and Information Technology specialist to present them and discuss them with the young people of Africa through the Rudi For Women and Girls program. This program aims at stopping modern day slavery, bullying, and sexual trafficking of children.

Image Source: Empowering Future Digital Citizens

Please contact us if you are a specialist in policy, IT and child protection to discuss about ways in which you can be part of our mission.

Dessert Night in Madison, MS – October 23 2014

Welcome Arsène!

To the friends of Rudi International who are in or near Madison, MS.

You are invited to a special dessert night to welcome Arsène Tungali, Executive Director at Rudi International, as he visits Mississippi for the first time. We plan to discuss plans for the coming Christmas event in Lac Vert, Goma. Come and be among the first to contribute!

Please take a look at the invitation here to sign up.

Let’s Send More Children Back to School #RudiBack2School14

ENG: Our campaign to send back the children to school has started. Our challenge this year is whether you will empower Rudi International to send more children to school. Please join the campaign by donating here and by using #RudiBack2School14 on your Social networks.

Remember, with less than $120 you will keep a child in primary school for a whole year, uniform and copybook provided.

FR: Notre campagne pour envoyer les enfants à l’école cette nouvelle année a commencée. Joignez-nous en effectuant votre donation sur notre site à travers PayPal et ensuite en circulant le mot sur votre réseau social avec notre hashtag #RudiBack3School14.

Souvenez-vous qu’avec moins de 120 USD, vous pouvez garder un enfant en classe à l’école primaire pour toute une année.

Image

“The Congo Tree” team visits Rudi’s work in Lac Vert

This Wednesday, we had some of our friends visiting us in Lac Vert. The staff of a UK based charity called “The Congo Tree”, working in building a new generation of leaders in the Congo by training young people, focusing on mentorship opportunities as a yearlong journey. Our own Arsene Tungali is part of this.

See the pictures at our Facebook Page!

Today, they visited our women in the morning and then the kids in the afternoon after they are done with classes. Part of the team, we could notice Ms Heidi Bentley and Ms Amy from the UK; Muhindo Malunga and his wife Grace from Goma. All of them are great supporters of our work in Eastern DRC. They were conducted by our own Arsene, Serge and Mama Jeanet as our team based in the DRC.

In the morning, the women were there waiting with Mama Jeanet

DSCF4988

With the mothers, Mama Jeanet explained the work we are doing in our “Encourage Mothers” program and some of the women shared testimonies about what this program has brought to them as change. And why they need to keep it running.

Sometimes, I forget to think about my own problems and focus on what we were taught in our weekly conversations. This space has helped me focus mostly on my strengths than on my weaknesses knowing that I am strong enough to handle my pains”, shared one of the mothers, who would like to see this program continue.

We had the opportunity to take part into one their lessons and it was great to notice how they have created their own safe conversational space. They are happy to share their stories and they now know each other by name, what they would have never done before.

We are becoming day after day a family. I know the name of everyone here and know their homes. We now visit each other and know each other’s problems, assisting her the way we can”, shared another woman.

Before the end of the session, Heidi shared her impressions and encouraged the women to stay strong and continue to be good mothers. “You are so strong and I have discovered this while I was working in the Congo the past couple of years [she used to work with Tearfund in Goma, ndlr]”, she shared. “Congolese women are strong and good mothers. I am proud and honored to be here in front of you”.

Amy wanted to say something and she couldn’t hide her emotion, being in such a space. “You are beautiful women and I can see the beauty of God in your face”, she started. “I don’t think I have something to teach you but I feel like I have much to learn from you because you are strong. I discovered this while working in South Kivu [she worked as well with Tearfund in Fizi territory, South Kivu, ndlr]”, she concluded.

Then, the kids were out of school and ready to welcome us

Group photo with the kids

Group photo with the kids

At 1pm, we came back to the school to meet with the students. Heidi and Amy brought some pens, pencils, color pencils, etc. This was a gift from a school in the UK to the students in Goma. And this gift was much welcomed and appreciated by our sponsored kids and some of others who were around at that moment. We really thank those students and would love to build a strong relationship with schools abroad. In a classroom were our kids who interacted with the guests and Heidi got to share an experience of working with young people in the UK which was such a powerful story with a positive message.

After the classroom, because so many kids were waiting outside, the team went to meet them in the large space for some games. The team conducted some exciting games with the whole group of students. It was really funny and powerful to see their energy.

We had so much fun and we were happy to have our friends visiting us and got to meet with our beneficiaries. Their comments were really positive and we hope to hear more from them while they are back in the UK.

Friends, if you want to visit us, just let us know when you are in Goma or if you want to travel and volunteer in one of our programs, we can arrange a time for you. Bring some fresh and positive stories to share with our kids and all our beneficiaries. We are really blessed for today’s experience with our friends.

The Team!

“Encourage Mothers”, how Rudi is working with women affected by war to heal their trauma

Encourage Mothers” is our new program under Rudi International!

Group photo of the first meeting in Lac Vert community

Group photo of the first meeting in Lac Vert community

31 mothers attended our 4 meetings held so far. Each week, the meeting is taking place on Saturday between 8 to 9am. They are conducted by Mama Jeanet and held in the Lac Vert community either in a local church where we have been generously given space or at one of the women’s place when there is a service in that church.

In our last newsletter (need a pdf copy in your email box? Let us know), we announced the launch of our new program, “Encourage Mothers” which aims to work with the mothers in the Lac Vert area to help them become good mothers for their families through conversations. They are affected by war, are living in poor conditions and since have been traumatized by all that. In the initial phase, the meetings focuses on healing conversations and we have seen great changes happen on their faces, how they can easily smile and call each other by name.

The group in one of their meetings

The group in one of their meetings

On the first meeting (Nov 11th, 2013), Arsene Tungali introduced Mama Jeanet to the women as their new friend and briefly talked about the new program, then gave the flow to Mama Jeanet.  She then introduced the program “Empower” which consists of giving an opportunity to everyone to speak about anything that is deep in his heart. Those are stories, most of the times bad stories, that everyone has passed through and that are remaining as wounds in their lives. Per the 4 meetings already done, everyone spoke about her terrible story and after that felt comforted and released.

Arsene Tungali introducing the program

Arsene Tungali introducing the program

These women really needed such a space of conversation, unique in the area. They had their hearts full of trauma stories, bad memories and this is actually a danger because they won’t have any positive talks with their kids unless they have had an opportunity to talk and to get their trauma healed. In my group, I hear stories and stories and after each one of the women have spoken, we heal each other by providing some advices. We also use the word of God and have other strong words from strong women and this have shown a positive result on them”, Mama Jeanet shared in one her reports to Rudi.

They agreed to observe and keep confidentiality.

No one is allowed to divulgate the story shared by another one. This climate of confidence helps them to freely express their selves and feel better. Some rendezvous failed because either Mama Jeanet had no money for transport (as she is coming from Goma to Lac Vert, 10kms away) or she is out of the town for business or international conferences. When Rudi was able to support with few money, she found that the women came at the meeting place but were disappointed because she was absent. This shows that they are really interested in that program and want the meetings to be held very often. We need your financial support. Would You Donate here!

On 2013 Christmas day, Mama Jeanet is talking to the group

On 2013 Christmas day, Mama Jeanet is talking to the group

We started this program without initial funding and we are keeping it up only by faith and our motivation comes from the courage and interest our beneficiaries’ manifests. Arsene commented: “We couldn’t stay untouched after working two years in the community with the kids and left behind their mothers. To build a bright future for the children in Lac Vert, we need to touch their mothers as well”. We hope to have your support so we can move on next steps towards our trauma healing program. Mama Jeanet has strong experience on this matter and we are proud to be working with her. For this initial phase of the Empower program, we just need money for her transport.

Look, not enough money actually. From Goma to Lac Vert and back to Goma, she needs about 5$ if she takes a motorbike. That makes about 20$ per month to be able to meet the women 4 times a month, to have transformational conversations. Be part of this and donate whatever you can.

One of the mothers with her kid attending the conversations

One of the mothers with her kid attending the conversations

There are stories that are coming out from their meetings, we cannot share all of them. Here is one of the stories that Jeanet wanted us to share: “My 3 kids got poisoned. I witnessed them all dying one after another because we had no money for hospital at the right time. What I remember is that my husband got very angry and rude on me and as I had no force to handle this, I lost intelligence…”, shared Mama Chantal and it seems not be enough for her, the hardest part of the story is this as she continues “I don’t remember what comes next but when I was awake, I found myself naked, in a bush so far from my house. I was frightened and when I went back home, my husband told me that I am no longer welcomed home pretending that I killed his sons (my own sons!). He chased me and I am alone here in Lac Vert after I left Masisi where I was with my family. I haven’t seen him again and heard that he got married to another wife.”

Mama Jeanet shares that, after this story was told in the group, everyone felt in tears and all of them got the courage to talk about their own stories because they saw the courage of their colleague. At our program, we believe in the power of a story shared in a group to release someone from his loneliness.

Be part of this. Help us build strong mothers in the community, free of trauma. In the coming months, we will go into the next phase of the program which will consist of designing some activities that can help the women generate some incomes. You can start investing in our program as for this phase, we will need some more money to be able to handle this.

Dec 24t, for the Christmas Project, the mothers received each a package from Rudi for their celebration with family

Dec 24t, for the Christmas Project, the mothers received each a package from Rudi for their celebration with family

We want to have a STRONG WOMAN to champion this program ad be our fundraiser. Are you that woman? Do you care about women? About the Congo? Join us today!