“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.
As part of the end of the year activities at Rudi International in December 2015, the children who are part of the Rudi Education program visited the famous Goma harbor on the shores of Lake Kivu in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Following is a report of this wonderful experience for the children. Our gratitude goes to all of you who supported the end of the year celebrations for these children.
This trip was an innovation since we have never done a trip of this caliber before. We were able to gather 55 of the kids enrolled in the Rudi Education program. Although not everyone was able to attend due to home duties or traveling for the holiday, we still feel it was a great turn out.
It took nearly 3 hours to take the students from Lac Vert to the harbor. The Rudi International team worked diligently behind the scenes to complete the necessary administrative paperwork and line up the tour guide so it would be a fun learning experience for everyone in attendance. Full report with images available in PDF.
As part of our ICT Programs, Rudi International, non-profit celebrates the Safer Internet Day with the rest of the world as over 100 countries celebrate this day to encourage the safe and responsible use of online technology.
Rudi International agrees with the theme for this year calls you to “Play your part for a better Internet,” where children and the rest of humanity is safe, dignified, respected, and the Lord God honored.
Below is a link from the ITU Blog that shares a SMART way of stay safe on the Internet:
S – Set your limits: beware of sharing your personal information.
M – Meeting online friends offline: take someone else with you that you know and trust to stay safe.
A – Accepting invitations/friendships: there is nothing wrong in declining invitations that you are not sure about.
R – React: if you see something that bothers you, talk to your parents or someone you trust.
T – Tell someone about your concerns: report inappropriate content and behavior to the host of the website or police.
Finally, the ITU also provides a wonderful PDF document that parents can use with their children for educating them and improving their safety both online and offline. Please find the PDF document directly on the ITU website.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We are excited to officially share this BIG news with you our friends, supporters and partners. The Lord God we are serving is working and is expanding our work, helping us to go beyond our own limitations as we serve those in need. We are grateful.
Our Encourage Mother’s program has grown big.
We have been praying, working, reaching out to our supporters on ways to empower women in Lac Vert with life skills, as a way for us to move to the next level. Since its start, we have been mostly dealing with our counseling work, providing a safe space for healing conversations. Over 40 women, many of them being the mothers of our sponsored students through Rudi Education, are attending weekly Bible-based counseling sessions.
Because at Rudi International we believe in a holistic approach to helping those in need, we are happy to tell you that a small portion of your sponsorship donation is allocated to these trauma-healing and related activities. When you sponsor a student through our education program, you are contributing to improving his or her family environment.
Through our partnership with Linked Through Love Foundation, a Canadian-based sister organization, we are able to move to a next step, which is a big one. A SEWING project has kicked off in Goma this June, at our new offices. Ten (10) out of the Encourage Mothers women have been selected to be trained in sewing skills for 10 months.
At the end of this program, these women will be able to start small sewing businesses and earn additional income that will lead to a more sustainable financial situation. We need them to be able to provide for the needs of their families. We want the students we are sponsoring for education to be able to have food, shelter and their basic needs be covered in order to perform well at school.
There is a common saying in the Democratic Republic of Congo: “When you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation”. It is true and we are working on this.
The rest of the group will keep with their weekly meetings. Another group of them will be chosen to undertake the same program as the second class.
Read full blog post from our partner’s website explaining this project and consider donating today to fund the next phases of this project:
The sewing project’s main objective is to provide these women with income generating activities appropriate to the skills being learned, making them self-sufficient. Phase 1-3 will focus on learning new sewing skills and working on sewing projects, including making school uniforms. This not only provides an avenue to learn and practice the skills, but provides new uniforms for the education program so that funds donated and allocated to buying school uniforms can be reassigned towards sponsoring more children or be used for the betterment of the Encourage Mothers – Renew Hope program. During the phase 4 practicum, women will focus on specific projects designed to be sold to the public to help generate income for the programs expenses.