Momma Claudine (Immaculee Murebwayire)
Mama Claudine is 28 years old and has two children. Growing up, she lived in Giporoso and for most of her life she had to take care of herself. Her parents died when she was young. Even though she had several siblings, she was forced to take care of herself. She was determined to go to school, so she did any job she could find in order to have the ability to pay to continue her education. This however, is when she became pregnant with her first child.
We met Momma Claudine in 2011. Her children became a part of the sponsorship program, and in 2016, she began to make jewellery that Hagari sells for her. Working for Hagari has impacted her life in many ways. She said that her children no longer go hungry. She is able to save money and plan for her family’s future, and she has even been able to renovate her house. However, Momma Claudine says that the most important and most meaningful thing that she has gained through Hagari is the ability to believe in and know God. The love of God is evident in her life as she is now the pillar in her extended family, taking in many nieces and nephews who have lost their parents or whose parents cannot care for them. She is also growing into a wonderful and respected leader in her community.
Momma Claudine is an extremely quick learner, she is creative and talented and a very hard worker. She is working hard to develop new products for the ministry and we love her creativity and work ethic. We are so thankful to have her be a part of the Hagari family!
Mama Centia who is 35 and a mother of four children, started working with our artisan program in May of 2018. Before she joined Hagari she was always busy finding casual jobs to provide for her family. Now with the regular craft making at Hagari she does not need to worry about finding the next job and can plan for the future. She now earns more than a subsistence income and is able to save and spend money on food at the same time.
In the morning her motivation to go to work is to pay for her kids schooling, and not to disappoint her children. It doesn’t matter if she is sick, she wants to go. To the question what do you want to see different in the life of your kids compared to your youth, Mama Centia answered that “I want them to live in a fancy house and go to school to get better opportunities than I had”.
We are so happy to see such a big change in Mama Centia’s life in the time she has been with us! We can’t wait what the next years are going to bring for her and her family.
Momma Yvette (Valentine)
We met Momma Yvette in 2010, and in 2011 her oldest son Festo entered the sponsorship program. She grew up in Giporoso, but now lives in Busanza on the outskirts of Kigali. Momma Yvette has 5 children. Growing up, life was very difficult for Momma Yevette. She lost her parents at a young age and was only able to attend school until grade four, after which she began prostitution. She became pregnant through prostitution and also met a man, whom she married for a short time.
Momma Yvette continued to struggle to provide for her family, but in 2017 she came to work for Hagari weaving baskets and trivets. She states that she is thankful for Hagari because it provides her with a means to pay rent, put food on the table, and gives her a sustainable income. From her past, Momma Yvette harboured a lot of bitterness, but being in the ministry has taught her how to deal with that anger and how to be a good example to the kids.
We love Momma Yvette and her story of redemption from a life that was once so broken. We are beyond thankful to have her as part of this ministry!
Christine is one of our mommas who is eager to learn new skills to help provide for her family. Currently she is employed by Hagari’s handicraft program making paper bead jewellery. Christine grew up in Giporoso (an area of Kigali) and still lives there today. She is 47 years old, has 8 children and several grandchildren. Growing up, life was hard for Christine. She became pregnant while she was in primary school, and her parents ran her out of her house. She and the baby then went to live with her grandparents. For many years Christine was entrenched in illegal activity, prostitution and other things as well, in order to make ends meet.
In 2017, Christine was given an opportunity to join Hagari’s handicraft program. Through making jewellery, Christine is able to provide for her family to have a better life and she is so thankful to have two of her sons sponsored by Hagari. She said that the ministry has taught her important life lessons about learning to work diligently and the importance of helping those around her.
Although Christine’s life has been full of difficulty, she continues to press on and works hard to provide a better life for her children and grandchildren.
Momma David works with Hagari’s handicraft program making beautiful woven baskets. She is 36 years old and has five children. Growing up, life was very difficult for Momma David. Her mother passed away when she was 9 years old, and her father passed away when she was 15. She then lived with her grandmother who was very harsh towards her. The harshness continued when she got married to her first husband at age 19. He left her and the three kids to fend for themselves. She later had her other two children with another partner who also mistreated her. He also left her when she was just a few months pregnant with her last child.
While she still faces many difficulties as a single mom, in 2016, things began to turn around when she started working for Hagari. The fair-trade wage that she earns by making baskets helps her to take care of her children. She has also gained a supportive and loving community to work in. Four of Momma David’s children are sponsored through Hagari, thus reassuring her that her children will receive a good education. We asked Momma David what she has learned from being a part of this ministry, and she said, “I have learned how to treat my kids well and be a good example for them.” Her love and devotion to her children is evident.
We are so thankful for Momma David’s humble spirit and love for those around her. Having her as part of our Hagari family is such a blessing!
Pendo is 30 years old and lives in Busanza. She has one child and is employed by Hagari’s handicraft program making woven baskets. When Pendo came to Kigali, she immediately went into prostitution in order to survive. This is how she became pregnant with her child. Her daughter Keza has been in the sponsorship program since 2013 but Pendo continued to work in prostitution because she had no education or skills to fall back on. That life was very challenging, dangerous and degrading. In 2016 when Hagari began to train women to make baskets, Pendo reluctantly joined the training. Now she is one of the most gifted artisans in the group and she no longer needs to put herself in danger in order to provide for her family.
Pendo said that she loves the ministry because her child can go to school and she is able to work with her hands instead of going to the street to make ends meet. We asked Pendo what she learned while being a part of Hagari and she said, “I have learned to be open to people and to have a dignifying job.”
If Pendo could give advice to anyone, she said that it would be, “Make your yes a yes and your no a no.” We are so proud of Pendo and so thankful that God has given her a way out of prostitution.
Momma Vanessa (31) has 3 kids and her oldest child Vanessa is in our program. She has been workingfor Hagari since 2013 weaving baskets. She lives in Busanze with her family and walk to work everyday.
Before Momma Vanessa joined Hagari she was struggling with multiple aspects of her life. Her kids weren’t in school and she had nothing to do during the day, this was not easy for her. Hagari helped her turn her life around completely. She can now pay the rent, she can now provide food for her family and Vanessa is in school.
When she was asked what she was most grateful for she answered,” the opportunity of having a job and Vanessa doing well in school”. Momma Vanessa is proud of Vanessa and encourages her to do her best at school. She is also proud of her work. She learned the most from fellowship with others. She told us that it taught her to live in a right way in society. Also she learned how to have fun with the work that she is doing.
The last thing we find very important. We are more than happy to hear Momma Vanessa is having fun and has learned so much in those years with Hagari.
Vestine has recently joined the Hagari craft team after an encounter with our staff when she was working on the street. One a outreach to working women our staff had a long chat and learnt how the genocide had essentially left her with no family and not much hope. As our staff shared the love of God Vestine shared that she had been praying that God would send her a way out of prostitution for her and her two children.
As she went on, she shared that her 2 year old daughter was in bad condition and had been badly burned two days prior. She was working the streets to try to get enough money to take her daughter to the doctor. At 1 a.m. we found ourselves in a dark one room home with Vestine and her sweet daughter Kellia. When we saw the severity of the burns and Kellia’s condition we feared that she wouldn’t make it through the night to get her to the doctor the next morning. It was a sight that truly brought us to tears as we wept over the little girl that stood wobbly in front of me.
We posted a plea for prayers on Facebook, and the next morning we woke up to several donations for Kellia’s treatment and a little girl who was ready to see the doctor, a situation completely flooded with prayer and the grace of God. After several doctors’ appointments, Kellia’s burns improved dramatically. In addition, Vestine received training to learn to make paper bead jewellery and is now employed by Hagari’s handicraft program.
Getting to know Vestine has been such a joy. Her love for her two children is unfathomable, and the lengths she went to in order to try and receive care for Kellia were truly inspiring and selfless. What once was a situation that was seemingly hopeless, now has hope written all over it. We are convinced that the Lord truly writes the best stories.
Momma Ange (Yvette Muhorakeye)
Mama Ange is one of our sweet mamas who is 22 years old and has one child. She lives in the village of Busanza and travels by foot to the Hagari office each day where she makes paper bead necklaces. She dropped out of school before graduating because she was pregnant. Since she had no skills or training, she found it hard to support herself and this new little life. She turned to prostitution.
Our staff met her one evening in 2017 while she was working on the street. We were able to share the gospel with her and tell her of the hope that is in Jesus beyond a life of prostitution. In May she began training to make the paper bead necklaces.
When asked how her life has changed since she began working with Hagari, Yvette’s face lit up as she said, “Of course my life is changed!” She stated that the ministry allowed her to stop prostitution and gave her opportunity to change her life, as well as the life of her child.
It is imperative to us that each of the women know how special they are not only to us, but also to the Father. We asked Yvette what is one thing that she most proud of, and she said, “I am very proud of my work ethic. My motivation for working is to keep myself on a right path.”
Momma Miriam (Patricia Mukamana)
Patricia, commonly known as Mama Miriam, is one of our first mamas to join the ministry. She is 47 years old and has six biological children, as well as one adopted child. She lives in the village of Busanza and is making paper bead necklaces. Her story is one heavily affected by the genocide in 1994.
Patricia was one of 13 children, and during the genocide. Her parents and all but her and one brother were killed. This left her feeling lost and alone as the genocide had destroyed everything. This is when a man came and raped her. With nowhere to go, she ended up living with him and having 2 kids together. He would often beat her badly, and one day she got the courage to leave him. When she left, she was already pregnant with her third child who passed away a few days after birth.
The man’s mother took her two children from Patricia, which left her completely alone once again. Luckily, a man came into her life and she was able to take back her children. Soon after her husband and Patricia found that they were both HIV positive.
In 2012, our staff met with Patricia to discuss the possibility of helping her through our program. Since she has been in the program, her children have had the opportunity go to school. They have also been able to eat every day where before it could be 2-3 days between meals. Patricia is very thankful for this ministry and all of the opportunities she has gained through the craft she has learned. She said, “Even if this ministry stopped today, I would be able to support myself with the things I have learned here.”
We love Mama Miriam’s heart to serve others for the sake of the gospel. Hagari has brought her a new life in Rwanda as well as a new life in Jesus, and for that we are so thankful.
Francaise, is a sweet mama of five children who makes beautiful paper bead necklaces. She curre ntly lives in Busanza with three of her children. Her story is also heavily affected by the genocide.
She was born in a family of seven children but none of her brothers and sisters survived the genocide. When the genocide occurred in 1994, she had four children. Three of the four died in the genocide. The children she lost were 11, 6 and a baby. Shortly after, in 2002, her husband left her. A life full of loss and despair led her to loneliness and struggling to survive.
In 2016, we met Francaise. Despite her circumstances, she still held onto much joy and hope. She says that once she began working with us, she was released from her struggles and burdens and gained confidence while doing so. She says that her favourite part of being in the Hagari program is that it brought her community and friendship.
Francaise has much to be proud of, “I had courage to raise my children and let them go to school. I am also working hard to send them to university. I am proud that I made it.”
We love Francaise and her heart to serve those around her. We are proud of all she has accomplished and thankful to have her be a part of our family here at Hagari!
Momma Alice (Sophie Nyiransabimana)
Sophia, is one of the first mamas who received training to make baskets. She is 37 years old and has four children. She lives in the village of Busanza and walks to Hagari each day to make the beautiful baskets.
Before Sophia joined the Hagari program, she struggled to make ends meet and would go look for different jobs just so that she could buy food for her family. She would often sell fruit and vegetables on the street, which is illegal but common practice. In 2000, she married her husband who does not work. She struggled being the only one able to bring money into the household.
We met Sophia in 2015, and soon after we decided to start training the mamas to make baskets. She is very thankful for the opportunity to make baskets because it gives her the ability to support herself and her family. She is thankful for the skills that she has learned at Hagari because she says she can take those skills she has learned with her wherever she will go.
When we asked Sophia what she is proud of she stated that she has learned to forgive. She says that she used to be very angry, but Hagari has helped her overcome that and forgive those around her. She is hopeful that through this opportunity she will be able to fully support and pay for her children. We love Mama Alice, and we are beyond thankful to have her in our ministry here at Hagari.
Momma Bonfils (Angelique Nyiraminai)
Ange is one of the moms who works as a part of our sewing team. She is 30 years old, married and has one step-son named Bonfils. When speaking with Ange about her story, it is obvious that it is sewn together with many trials and triumphs.
Ange was one of 9 children, and after the genocide occurred in her home village of Gasabo-Jabana, it was only her, her mother and her youngest brother left. When the perpetrators came into the village some of her siblings were killed and some ran in different directions, so she is unsure of what ever happened to them. After the genocide, when Ange was in grade 6, she was unable to complete school, so she attended sewing school instead. Fast-forward a few years and Papa Bonfils comes into the picture. The family was struggling to make ends meet for Bonfils to go to school. After building a relationship with Hagari, Bonfils was put into the sponsorship program. Since then, Ange has improved her sewing skills through additional training provided by Hagari.
This gave her and her family hope. Through the program, she is able to provide for her family and her husband is also able to provide. He took out a loan from Hagari to purchase a moto (Rwanda’s form of taxi). Ange has also had a difficult journey with infertility, but being a part of this program provides for medical insurance to help with different treatments and doctor visits. When we asked Ange what one thing she was proud of herself for, she stated that she is proud that she can be patient with anything.
Please continue to pray for Ange and her husband as they continue to seek healing from infertility and that the Lord will provide in that area of her life. We are so thankful for Ange and her story of beauty from ashes. We are certain that the Lord is going to continue to use her in mighty ways.
Mama Jean Marie is 28 years old and has two children who are both in the program. The first was Jean Marie who joined in 2010 and the second was Mama who joined in 2017.
Mama Jean Marie grew up in a very poor family and had no opportunity to go to school. She was always looking around for casual work to provide for her daily food. She moved to Kigali, like so many others, in the hope to find a steady job to provide for her family back in the village. Both her parents were alive, but still she was the one in the family trying to take care of everyone. In Kigali she got in a relationship but he soon left her, with no other work she turned to prostitution. The ministry found her working on the street and we decided to bring Jean Marie into the program. Since then the family has moved to Busanze and has a second child.
Before she worked with Hagari she would work a day and then at the end of the day drink her money away. What she likes about working the way she is now is that she prays in the morning before she goes to work and she spends the money in a smart way to provide for her family. Her biggest dream for her future is to own her house so she can take her parents in and take care of them.
We pray for Mama Jean Marie that all her dreams may come true and we are so happy to see the change in the way that Mama Jean Marie is living her life.
Momma Shafi (Uwamahoro Sayidati)
Momma Shafi is a talented mom who is a part of our sewing program here at Hagari. She is 30 years old and has 4 children. Growing up, Momma Shafi did not know her parents, and neighbours raised her and her three siblings; therefore, they essentially raised themselves. To make money, Momma Shafi and her siblings sold fruits and vegetables on the street. When she was 18 years old, she met her husband. Her husband was also extremely poor; therefore, her life continued to be a struggle.
In 2013, Momma was asked to come to the weekly prayer and bible study gathering that we hold at Hagari. A few years later, Shafi was sponsored and Momma Shafi began her training in sewing. Over the past few years, Momma Shafi has developed debilitating headaches. She says that she is extremely thankful for the program because it provides her a way to pay for her treatment and gives her hope that one day she will get better. When we asked Momma Shafi about some of the things she likes most about Hagari she said, “I gained community. I used to be alone, but through the program I have gained a family who cares. I now have hope for my life.”
Momma Shafi is truly a woman who displays peace and contentment in all circumstances. We love her willingness to serve and her patient and loving heart that consumes every aspect of her service. Please continue to pray for Momma Shafi as she works to gain relief and healing from her headaches.
Momma Kellia (Dusabe Florence)
Dusabe is one of our talented sewing moms from Busanza. Dusabe joined us in 2014 and has brought so much joy to our program. She has two boys and one girl. Dusabe’s story is like most of the mamas. She became pregnant at a very young age, which caused her to drop out of school to stay home with the baby. She looked forward to going back to school, but ended up getting pregnant again, so she was then unable to return. Dusabe worked hard to find ways to feed and provide for her children, but times were tough and this came to be a seemingly daunting task. One of her neighbours was a part of Hagari, and she invited Dusabe to join her at the weekly women’s bible study, which changed everything.
Dusabe stated that she had lost hope in herself because she was so young when she had her children and she wasn’t able to return to school. She felt as though she would never get anywhere in life because of this. Through Hagari, she says she has found Christ and found hope through the work that was given to her and the confidence that it has brought into her life. “I found there is life after this,” Dusabe stated as she shared her story with us with a confidence and joy that lit up the room.
We praise the Lord for Dusabe’s rescue from a life of struggle, but we are also rejoicing in her new life found in Christ, our only source of true satisfaction. We love Dusabe and we are so thankful that she is a part of our family here at Hagari!
Momma Sarah (Mushimiyimana Dansilah)
Momma Sarah joined Hagari’s sewing team in 2015. She currently lives in Busanza and has 3 children. Growing up, Momma Sarah’s life was filled with financial hardships. Her parents sold fruits and vegetables to try to provide for their family, but she was forced to drop out of school in grade 5. Momma Sarah got married and had her first child, but things were still hard for the young family. Momma Sarah and her neighbour would frequent a certain spot to pray, and one day while they were there, the Lord had answered her prayers.
Through tear-filled eyes, Momma Sarah recounts the day they went to pray when a team who was visiting with Hagari took a picture of one of her children. That child received a sponsor, and not long after, her older daughter got a sponsor as well, giving them the ability to go to school to receive an education. Before her children were sponsored and she started to work for the ministry, she said that she was always worried about how she was going to make enough money to pay for rent, food and basic necessities, but now she doesn’t have to worry about those things. Momma Sarah said that one of the things that she loves the most about the ministry is that they encourage her to work and work for herself. She said, “Nothing is handed to me. I am able to help myself and continue to move forward. I appreciate that very much.”
With Momma Sarah’s hard work ethic and determination, we believe that she will be able to achieve many of her goals. We are so thankful to be a part of her story.