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  • Karen Visser

Alphonse's Journey of Resilience and Renewal

Updated: Jun 12

Alphonse is Rwandan, a proud father, and a survivor of unimaginable losses in the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi. His wife, son, and entire extended family were killed, and he was thrown into deep poverty after the theft of all their property. Alphonse remarried and had more children. But it was almost impossible to climb out of poverty - and then he became very  ill. When we met Alphonse he was frail, bed-bound and deeply distressed by his family’s living conditions. Our local partner said, “It was so miserable; the house was [literally] about to fall down.” 

A window of hope Our supporters’ donations gave us the chance to empower this family.


Alphonse needed hospitalisation, which we could fund. 

Alphonse says: “I couldn’t even move from my bed in the beginning. My wife would go out for work, so I had to wait for a neighbour to come and take me out of bed. Then I would wait for my wife to come home and bring me back to bed… You should have heard me in the hospital when I could move my legs again!”

We organised a physiotherapist to treat Alphonse at home and train his daughter, and the positive impact of all these therapies has been immense.

Safe housing

The small family home was riddled with health hazards, to the point Alphonse's bright younger daughter was frightened to go to school in case the house collapsed and killed her father.

In coming alongside this family, we saw that safe and secure housing was a huge issue and also heard this from Alphonse, “Please, the house…I will die happy knowing my children are looked after.”

Alphonse's house before (left) and after (right).

Sustainable livelihoods

The family, their community and our local partner, CARSA, with full hearts, to build the home, chicken and rabbit hutches and a garden around Alphonse and Domitila’s new house. We also provided the training, seeds and plants to fill the family garden with vegetables and fruit, and gave them goats, rabbits and chickens. The balanced diet would help Alphonse’s health and the rest could sustain the whole family. 


To see the transformation this year with my own eyes was deeply moving. 

Alphonse’s health is now stable. 

Domitila and the children work diligently to make their garden fruitful. 

They are confident and independent. 

And their simple, peaceful home is a sturdy, furnished, wheelchair-accessible shelter which can be passed down for generations.

Alphonse says, “I heard that they were doing construction, but then I came here to this house and I was in heaven! Now we are like other Rwandans. We will face challenges, things happen to us, but just like any other Rwandan, we are no different.”

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