World Relief Rwanda
Picture a village. Remote, undeveloped, overwhelmed by poverty and characterized by broken relationships. A village where malnutrition, illness, and a small number of positive role models oftentimes leave children extremely vulnerable. A village where the perpetual cycle of poverty cripples entire generations, decade after decade.
Now picture that same village in community.
A community characterized by thriving relationships, strengthened families, spiritual richness, economic sustainability, and good health. Picture community leaders and church pastors, once isolated and fragmented, sitting together in conversation; learning, talking, sharing, and envisioning; eager to connect, encourage, and challenge one another. A community empowered to love and serve the most vulnerable, to fulfill the Great Commission, and see the next generation renewed, restored, and transformed in Christ.
This is the vision that inspires the partnership between CrossRoads and World Relief (WR). Since 2013, we have worked in 6 separate geographic sectors in the district of Nyamasheke; recently 3 of these have graduated - this means that these sectors have reached independence, and no longer need the support of WR to maintain their transformed communities! In 2021, WR will begin to develop 3 new sectors, still within Nyamasheke.
World Relief pioneered the Church Empowerment Zone (CEZ) model, wherein interventions are focused on empowering the community by building on local assets; by establishing local ownership from the outset, and focusing on leadership development and capacity building. WR empowers the local church to reach the most vulnerable by gathering every denomination together, beginning with the idea that they are one and not many; that they are working together and not in competition. Through biblical development they teach them how to shepherd their people; they train the pastors then church members, enabling them to catch the vision and gain the skills to identify and assist the most vulnerable in their community. This brings transformation to the community as a whole.
Reported numbers of interest in Nyamasheke:
- 228 churches and 3,373 volunteers have been trained through the CEZ model to date
As we move with WR into new sectors into 2021, we have set a few goals: to launch 45 new savings groups reaching 900 vulnerable people, train 70 couples as mentors for Families for Life, continue developing Child Development, and continue with Water and Sanitation Hygiene and Outreach Groups while supporting local churches with face masks and soap to fight against the spread of COVID-19. Let us encourage these efforts with prayer and financial support.
Coronavirus in Rwanda
Even though a pandemic set in, the pastors and volunteers in Nyamasheke reached 89% of their goals for the year. Furthermore, together with the World Relief staff, they succeeded with a very strong and creative COVID-19 response which included setting up Digital Savings Groups and What’s App digital support groups with all the pastors.
Savings for Life (SFL)
SFL is a program that assists in raising the vulnerable out of poverty. Together these group members save and invest together, thus providing access to funds for loans that would otherwise not be available. These loans are used to dramatically alter the lives of the members, be it funds used to build a house, start a business, or help a family member. The relationships that develop among the group run deeper than finances.
- Total cumulative number of SFL members – 11,468
Agriculture for Life (AFL)
Through the encouragement and direction of this well-designed program, people can reimagine the sense of pride and value in being involved in agriculture. Together with soil and crop management training, there has been a realization of greater yields. This increases the family’s access to nutrition, as well as providing a source of income.
- Number of people benefiting from AFL or agricultural development program – 5,779
Child Development & Family Strengthening
World Relief provides age specific clubs where kids can grow, develop self-confidence and learn about topics like health, nutrition, family relationships and God’s love for each of them. Parents also receive training through Outreach Groups to help them improve their parenting skills and marital relationship, in turn leading to stronger families and more stable communities.
- Children participating in Sunday School – 13,469
- People reached through Child and/or Youth Development programs – 19,501
- People served through Church initiatives outside the church – 5,255
- Outreach Servants (Volunteers for Outreach groups) – 1,388
- Households visited through Outreach Groups – 12,795
Written by Richard Vanderleek