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.
It has been an incredible school year. We are blessed to have you partnering with us in this journey to bring some positive transformation in the Lac Vert area, in remote Goma, DRC. The kids are now waiting to have their final marks sent to them.
We will be happy to share some updates very soon. Just remember to register for our next newsletter which will be full of exciting news from our work on the ground and our friends.
What do we do during this time :
We reflect on the past school year while working on the next one which is starting in September,
We work on some updates that we will be sharing with you very soon (in the next newsletter),
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.
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.
“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!
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.
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.
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!
Since 2012, Christmas with Rudi International has been a great opportunity for the children and the whole Lac Vert community to gather, rejoice and to have fun, enjoying the time together. We are really humbled to see God using us to bring some joy to this community which is comprise of people affected by war in the region. Last year, we had a great celebration with over 300 kids. See details!
In 2013, with your support, we have been able to reach even more and more people. We were able to involve the whole community, the celebrations taking two days! We gathered three separated groups on Dec 24th and the big celebration with everyone on Dec 25th. It was actually a special and unique opportunity in the area where parents are not able to offer anything on this special day for their kids. We are thankful to you for allowing us to bring this in the community.
The day before Christmas
On December 24th, we were able to organize an art workshop, focused on the 32 kids enrolled in our education program. This workshop was led by our youngest and new volunteer Daniel and it was a great opportunity for the kids to open up their minds to develop their artistic side. Both boys and girls were admitted in this workshop. A cocktail was served at the end.
“We are drawing the Holy Family, representing the little Jesus, Marie his mother and Joseph his daddy. Daniel explained us that story and I can now explain to others how things went the day Jesus was born in Bethlehem without even referring to the Bible”, commented Marko (13 years old), one of our sponsored kids.
The second group, in a separate classroom, was formed by 20 youth (aged 15 to 26 years old, young men and women). All of them were from the community, some have been to school, and others haven’t got the chance to be at school. This workshop was led by our own Arsene Tungali and he talked about their role as young people in the development of their community. The discussions were really interesting and good resolutions came out. They all agreed to take active part in activities aiming to help the Lac Vert community go forward. A cocktail was served at the end.
The 3rd group was focused on women, 27 mothers attended. The workshop was directed by Mama Jeanet, our volunteer, a great women who is directing the “Encourage Mothers” program, our new program focused on the mothers in the community. They celebrated Christmas on their own, talking about their role as women to support their families, building strong families. They could sing, dance and forget a little bit their problems, focus on Christ whose birth date was celebrated.
At the end, the youths and women received a small package (rice, soap, beans, kitchen oil, etc), to make sure they celebrate Christmas on the next day while we will be feasting with the kids on the following day.
Friends, know that we couldn’t do this without your support. Your contributions and support did work perfectly and we are really thankful to have you with us. We are working on making the change one step at a time. With you, we are building a strong, motivated community as we are developing specific programs that touch every generation: from working initially with the kids, young adult (first in Goma but now in the Lac Vert community as well) and women.
December 25th was the D-day and we were excited to see it happen. Our volunteers were ready and have been working on it the whole week before, making sure we have everything in place (football materials, bottle of water for different activities, bananas and the kitchen for food). Specifically for this day, we were happy to have new volunteers joining us, supporting us on the ground. And we were really happy to have the 20 young adults who attended the workshop with Arsene to be willing to serve alongside with those coming from Goma. Their commitment confirmed to us that our work is fully supported by the community and the young adults did receive very well the message.
On that day, so much exciting activities were organized. The kids were already present at the school compound waiting for the team coming from Goma (10 kms away). The football teams that were selected to play were already there waiting for the new football that we had to bring for them before the match can start. Three local teams played and we had one winner who received a gift from Arsene Tungali.
Other activities followed, conducted by our volunteers (Serge and Blaise leading the team) and the Santa we brought from Goma to entertain the people at Lac Vert. The celebrations took place from 10am to 5pm and at the end, we served a public meal to over 300 kids who attended.
Blaise Ndola, one of our core volunteers noticed: “I think this year, the kids were much motivated because I saw that some of them could even remember what we did last year. Throughout the various activities, I was glad to see some of them remember the specific activities we had last year after Arsene asked the question and gave a gift to everyone who had a correct answer. This shows me that they really care and enjoy the time they pass with the Rudi team.”
The celebration was a huge success and one of the mothers (note that some mothers were curious and came to see how their kids were enjoying and having fun) could comment with tears of joy on her face that she couldn’t hide:
“I was there and could notice how the kids were on the line waiting to be served. After being served, I watched my two kids eating a full plate of rice, beans, potatoes and a cup of juice that were given to each one of them. I couldn’t have such meal to give them at home but thanks to Rudi, they celebrated Christmas with much joy. May God bless you and your work.”
We are excited to announce to you that we have already set clear plans for our 2014 Christmas Project celebrations. This year, we are celebrating differently because you answered to our call and made a donation. We thank you in advance.
Special thanks to our friend and volunteer, Tessy who runs Divine Moments.
For your record, last year, we involved the whole children community of Lac Vert and celebrated with them by having so much fun and a big public meal offered to over 300 kids. Actually, it was a great celebration. We appreciated your support!
This year, our family has grown BIG: we went from 16 kids to 32 kids in our sponsorship program. We are happy to be serving 32 kids in particular with school items and school fees for the current school year. All this with you and with your support. We are so much thankful to see you partnering with us, taking this long journey with us.
Rudi International has grown this year again, because we now have a women’s program, a program focused on women, actually a sisterhood that we just formed in the Lac Vert community. Have you got our latest newsletter? It contains details about the Encourage Mothers program that we are running with the support Maman Jeanet, a great woman, volunteer and friend who just joined the team in Goma. She is specialized in trauma healing.
So, here we go with the schedule of our Christmas celebrations this December 2013
1. Tuesday, December 24th: Gathering in small groups
On Tuesday, the day before Christmas, we are having 3 different meetings, in the same school (Nyabyunyu Primary School in Lac Vert):
– Maman Jeanet will be having a great session with the 39 mothers already attending our weekly gatherings to talk, discuss and heal each other through conversations. At the end of the session, Rudi International will provide a small package of meal to each one of them. This is to help them go and celebrate Christmas with the rest of their family.
– Daniel, our newly and young volunteer in Goma will run an art workshop with the 32 kids we are sponsoring. Daniel will stimulate their art side and help them express their selves using a pencil, a paper and color pens. This will be our first experience and we look forward to it. A cocktail will be served at the end.
– Arsene Tungali will be gathering the Youth in Lac Vert. We have already made a list of 20 young people in the community. Arsene will be talking about “Volunteering for a social cause” to let them understand that Rudi needs their support in the process of building a ‘safe for all’ community with their support, as local population. A cocktail will be served at the end.
Note that we have the support of local authorities who will be assisting us on this journey. These 3 gatherings will take place at the same time (9h am to 12h), at the same place (Nyabyunyu Primary School in Lac Vert where we are working) but in three different rooms!
2. Wednesday, December 25th: The public events
At the D-Day, we have open activities to everyone.
We invited every single kid in the area to join us for our activities which will take place from 11 (after Church) to 5pm with exciting activities outlined by our volunteers on the ground Serge and Blaise who are coordinating these events. We hope to gather as much as possible and serve all of them. We hope to be able to and not be overcrowded.
We truly appreciate your prayers, your help in any kind and your financial support to make this possible. Know that you still can donate using our donations page at our website and you will be making a difference with us in the Lac Vert community where our activities are focused.