- Karen Visser
Updated: Mar 17, 2021
We love all the work we get to be a part of, seeing people’s lives be transformed from the inside out (click here to read about the Empower program). One of our favourite things is the privilege of providing housing for people who desperately need it.
Meet the beautiful Isabelle – she’s a survivor of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi. She is married and lives with her husband, Narcisse and their three children in rural Rwanda. Isabelle attended the Empower program as a participant in 2014, and has been on her own incredible journey of healing, forgiveness and reconciliation.
She eventually became an Empower facilitator, and now works hard to help others also receive healing.
Through the inner changes that Isabelle experienced from Empower, she has now improved her life, and that of her family. Together with Narcisse, they worked hard and put in a tremendous effort to build a house for their family. However, they have not been able to complete the house due to their lack of means. Some of what they had built was also damaged by flooding and rain. Houses in Rwanda are made of mud bricks, and then sealed with cement. Isabelle is part of a small group of
Empower participants in her community, who now help and support each other in their healing journeys, and in their lives. Incredibly, this small group contributed money together to buy some bags of cement to help Isabelle – but it wasn’t enough and they haven’t been able to fully cement the house. The house also did not have a toilet, kitchen or washroom (bathroom).
Towards the end of last year, CBL and CARSA (our partner) worked together to help this family complete their house, as well as build a separate toilet, kitchen and washroom. It has been amazing to watch this house take shape! If you are familiar with Rwanda, you’ll know that it is very hilly! You can see that Isabelle’s house is built on a hill, and so a lot of work also went into building a retaining wall so that the foundation of the house would be secure.
The family moved in just a couple of days after Christmas – what a gift! This house is going to be life-transforming for this family, providing the basic needs of security and shelter, but more than that, restoring the dignity and confidence of the whole family.
In addition to the house itself and the separate kitchen, toilet and washroom, we were also able to connect electricity and a single tap for running water – so many families don’t have either of these basics. These two things alone will increase the capacity of this family in so many ways!
The project has also benefitted around 30 neighbouring families, who were employed to provide labour for the construction.
The total cost of this project was about $7,000 – wow! That’s almost unbelievable! We can achieve so much and have such a massive impact – to be able to do so much with that amount of money, it’s such a great opportunity!
We have several families that desperately need housing, with our next housing project planned to start later this year. If you’d like to get involved, please contact us, or you can donate directly to housing projects here.
The finished product: