When I was in Rwanda last year, I met a 24 year old Rwandan woman named Janviere. She had been a patient in a prior year’s mission and she speaks excellent English.
On one of my last days there, she pulled me aside and told me that her 10 year old brother Trésor had lost his funding to attend school, and she wondered if I might know someone who could help. Elementary education is not free in Rwanda. Neither Janviere nor her mother are able to work, and her father does not live with them. While the cost of schooling is modest, it was more than Janviere could afford.
I was immediately suspicious and thought for certain that I was being conned. I wrote an email to his school to verify his attendance and I did a lot of soul searching. It would have been very easy to say no and walk away. But her story was compelling, and with the support of my church, I made a leap of faith and told Janviere that we could help.
We have stayed in touch via WhatsApp (a text messaging app) at least once weekly. She has shared her joys and sorrows, her struggles to support her mom and brother, her hope to get married and have children, and her search for work. She has some ongoing health issues that make all of this difficult.
I think it’s natural to worry when you donate money that it is being misused. It’s why we walk by people begging on the sidewalk. I have been reassured in this case because every time I send money, Janviere sends me a copy of the receipt for Trésor’s school fees, and she also sends a copy of his report card. I am certain that getting a good education can make a huge difference for a Rwandan child.
A huge thanks goes to First Congregational Church of North Attleboro for their financial support and prayers in my work with Janviere.
To donate to my travel fund, see here.