New homes in Rwanda
Bringing security and hope to families in rural Rwanda through the construction of new homes
For children, home should be a refuge—a safe and comfortable place for them to grow and thrive. But for many children growing up in the rural regions of Rulindo, Gakenke, Burera, Gicumbi and Musanze in Rwanda’s Northern Province, home is not safe at all.
Some Compassion-assisted families in these regions were living in particularly dire conditions. Natural disasters like earthquakes, strong winds, heavy rainfall and landslides had left their already dilapidated shelters beyond repair, forcing children to take temporary shelter with friends or neighbours. Many of these homes consisted of just a single room and were damp, dirty and overcrowded. The crisis was amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many caregivers lost their source of income and were plunged into even deeper poverty.
Compassion believes that safe shelter is an essential human right and recognizes the profound impact of a child’s living conditions on his or her overall well-being. Children growing up in terrible conditions often struggle in school, have poor quality of sleep and can suffer from chronic respiratory and hygiene-related illnesses. Often, these children also suffer socio-emotional effects, leaving them so embarrassed and socially withdrawn that they routinely skip school and their Compassion centre days. Our church partners in these regions of Rwanda wanted to provide children in need with a safe place to live, but without sufficient local resources, they needed help.
Your generous gift enabled us to construct new, safe homes for 62 families from 11 churches in the Northern Province of Rwanda.
The goal of this intervention was to provide families with significant upgrades to their prior living conditions. Any house that previously only had one room was upgraded to have at least two bedrooms and a living room. Each new home includes a concrete floor; mud, iron sheet or timber walls; and iron-sheet roofing. A committee consisting of caregiver representatives, project management teams and centre staff from each area were responsible for monitoring and supervising construction and ensuring quality control.
Centre staff held meetings with caregivers to mobilize their support in the construction process. Caregivers who were able, along with family members and other members of the community, played a big role in the success of this initiative by providing unskilled labour. This involved gathering stones, cutting and transporting trees, levelling the construction sites and transporting cement and iron sheets. For proper execution of this intervention, caregivers formed associations or teams. Teams focused their efforts and resources on one family home at a time to ensure that each new home was built in a timely and efficient manner.
Some families encountered delays while waiting to gain approval for construction or renovation permits from the Sector Administrative Offices, or while confirming land ownership. Periods of heavy rain also caused some delays in construction. However, everyone involved worked extra hard to catch up with the implementation schedule once construction could resume. Overall, this intervention progressed smoothly and on schedule.
Where possible, churches held special dedication ceremonies at each home to celebrate this wonderful gift and give thanks to God. Some 44 families were in such dire need that they moved into their homes during construction, once the roofing and walls had been completed. Caregivers continued with the finishing work on these homes while their families were already taking shelter. We are delighted to report that all 62 families have now moved into their new homes.
Unskilled labour: Caregiver mobilization played a big role in the success of this initiative. Caregivers, able family members and neighbours helped by making mud bricks, cutting and transporting trees, collecting stones, mixing concrete and transporting materials to construction sites.
Finishings: Final touches on each house included roofing, plastering the walls and cementing the floors.
Home dedication: Where possible, a dedication ceremony was held at each of the new homes. Neighbours, local authorities and centre staff were all in attendance.
Restored dignity: Beneficiaries feel happy, peaceful and secure with their new homes. These homes have restored the dignity that poverty had tainted and have been an investment in belonging and joy.
New homes, new habits: The families are delighted with their new, safe homes and have been working hard to keep them clean and tidy. Centre staff have visited each family at home to celebrate and pray with them. Children and families are being encouraged to implement new habits, including making their beds every morning and spending time together each day to boost self-confidence and strengthen family bonds.
Your Gift Provides...
Home construction for 62 families, including:
• Building materials:
○ Cement, sand, stones and gravel
○ Soakway for pit latrines
○ Reinforcement steel and steel binding wire
○ Mud bricks
○ Timber and wood preservative
○ Iron sheets, nails
○ 124 metallic doors (2/house)
○ 186 wooden doors (3/house)
○ 248 windows (4/house)
• Skilled labour
• Unskilled labour
• Water for construction
ReportA message from those your gift helped
Our house was in very bad shape because of disasters that had hit it, and it was almost collapsing on us. This was not only at nighttime—the rainy season was the most dreaded. Any time it rained we would run to the outside kitchen to be safe for fear of the house collapsing. Because the kitchen was small and dirty, we couldn’t sleep there but stayed awake until the rain cleared. Then we would start clearing rainwater in the main house and find ways to sleep again on the wet floor. Life was unpleasant.
We now have a well-constructed house. We are comfortable and free from the danger of unfriendly weather. Our belongings are now safe—no more running to the kitchen whenever it rains. Above all, we’re happy and full of hope for the future, believing that the God who did this will meet our future needs.
This means a lot for our family. When a major need like accommodation is met, it provides us with stability and vigour to pursue other pressing needs. We can be sure of a bright future because God has proved to be on our side.
We learned that every human being is valuable and has a right to live in good conditions. Second, poverty is not a person but a situation one finds oneself in at a particular time; when God chooses to bail you out, the situation changes. We have also learned that people are good and not only bad; they greatly supported us in the process of reconstructing our house.
We’re truly blessed by your love, demonstrated through your giving towards this intervention that has ended our misery.
ReportThank you for your generosity
Your gift of a safe, new home has brought stability, peace and overwhelming joy to 62 impoverished families in rural Rwanda. Before this intervention, families had little hope for the future. It was impossible for them even to imagine living in a home that was dry, sturdy and clean. Some had described their living conditions as no different than living on the street.
But thanks to you, these children and their families now have a home they can be proud of. Strong winds and rainstorms are no longer a threat, as the durable walls and roofs are built to withstand inclement weather. Families appreciate the presence of bathrooms and children have been motivated to bathe daily. With an easy-to-clean working space, families are also now able to eat food not contaminated with dust or smoke. Children now have a clean and comfortable place to sleep and do their schoolwork, which is benefiting their overall health and attendance at school and their Compassion centres. They are so glad and grateful to know that people they have never met have sympathized with them and care about their well-being.
Your gift is changing lives in a profound and lasting way. Through this intervention, families have seen Christ’s love in action and have begun to understand what it means to be known, loved and protected. As caregivers and community members have stepped up to support each other throughout this process, they are learning that they never have to struggle alone—and that by working together, they can achieve so much more than they can apart. The new spirit of unity and cooperation is already changing these communities and will have a powerful impact on the generations to come. Thank you for supporting this incredibly important initiative and sharing the love of Jesus in such a tangible way!
ReportA message from a centre director
The intervention has significantly impacted the lives of children and family members. Before the intervention, their houses had been battered by disasters and it was life-threatening to live in them, but the families had no option. This kind of a house exposed the occupants to unfriendly weather. The reconstruction of their houses has saved them from unfriendly weather, and they are very comfortable and happy.
This intervention has benefited the church through helping those living in extreme poverty, whose needs the church had not been able to solve. These families are among the most vulnerable, who came to church regularly with the expectation of receiving solutions to their most pressing needs. Through this intervention, the families are no longer a burden to the church or to the community.
Before this intervention, family members attended church irregularly. Every time we talked to them they would attribute their absence to a stressful search for food to feed the family. Now, the family members never miss any church program. Formerly, they saw the church as just a social gathering but now they know it’s a spiritual institution, and that God cares about our worries and needs. The church is now a beacon of hope in the community.
We are very grateful to God and to the donors who gave towards this intervention. May God’s goodness never leave you all the days of your life.