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A Note for New Readers

Urukundo Village is an independent home for Rwandan children created and funded through Hope Made Real and its incredibly kind donors. We are not funded by any particular denomination or organization and welcome all who seek to help the children of Rwanda and create a better world not just for a child, but for us all. 

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Newsletter for October 2015

October has been a very complicated month. The storm that hit Urukundo on September 30 rocked our world. Thanks to many of you and your quick response, we were able to replace roofs and clean up the internal damage. I am thankful no animals were lost and the children were out of harm’s way when the storm did its worst to destroy our farm.   We are back on our feet and moving on.

A Bit of Humor

Let’s start out with a little humor.

My latest purchase. Didn’t cost much but made me laugh. Now and then I need to laugh. Hope he makes you smile. The kids named the picture LENNART.

Lennart comes from Germany brings his guitar and sings for the kids. They love you Lennart.

Lennart hangs on the wall in Mama’s house.  Always ready to brighten my day and make me smile.

Sewing Center 

Our school for sewing is expanding. It was one crowed room with little space to work and no special area for teaching a class.  Our number of students, our orders for uniforms, bags, aprons, etc. has increased. We needed more working space.

Students at Sewing Center.  Thresea trying to teach with no classroom.

In the new classroom, we will also have a knitting machine to make and sell school sweaters.

We now have 3 rooms and a shop for displaying our product. 

Larger room for teaching.  Sewing Machines will soon be in this room.

Clowning around

Luki, Kinela, Kenny; our kids and Uwera a student at our school.  


Our Johnny (in sweater) wins an award for being THE BEST Reader in the first grade out of 70 in a competition sponsored by Urukundo Learning Center and Library. We are very proud of Johnny. 

Puppet show at Hope House. Kaboss and Rebekah presenters and using imagination.


Living by faith can be a bit shaky but at Urukundo that is a way of life. Toilets for Primary 4, 5, & 6 students was a priority so we went ahead on faith with clearing, leveling, digging the hole for septic, praying funding would arrive.

We are blessed. Funds have arrived. Urukundo Learning Center is so grateful to World Orphan Fund (check out their web site) a wonderful foundation who believes with us that education is the tool for a better future. They visited Urukundo Learning Center and designated a gift to make building the facility for the Primary School possible. Thank you WOF.

Beginning work

Progress to date.

Thanks to AIC (Africa International Club), we have desks and chairs for the opening of Primary 4 in January, 2016.

Inside Primary 4 class room.

At the homes and guest house.

I remember raking leaves in the fall months after the beautiful color display at my home in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. I thought it was hard work.

Raking leaves in Urukundo Rwanda. More like sweeping leaves.

Back breaking work

Mission Outreach

Doing our part to serve others. Our children pray god will teach them sharing. That is what we do and you help by your gifts.

Your gifts to UHFC through Hope Made Real are far reaching. The scope of what you do with a donation to HMR has reached a new dimension. Included are Community children, newborn babies, needy mothers, refugees in camps, people in need of Dental care, and Our kids at Urukundo.

Urukundo Foundation shares clothes for adults, children and blankets with refugees in the Camp near by.  Working with Gabriel Habimana from Social affairs at the District Level, we are able to contribute to the welfare of those less fortunate and in need. Your gifts of clothes, blankets, shoes, etc. are appreciated, not just by Urukundo and our children but by Rwanda as our country becomes a Safe Haven for desperate people.

Large duffel bag packed full of clothes & blankets for refugees in the camp in Muhanga district. Doing our part as members of the community of Muhanga.

School children benefit from your clothing gifts to Urukundo Home for Children.

Rwanda’s Mamas care about their children.  We can and do help.


In the first 3 weeks, Mama and Baby project has provided clothing for 15 newborn babies and more than 30 hats to the delivery center for added warmth for little heads. Keep the hats and clothing coming please! Mamas are grateful. 

Twins receive needs. Their mama is happy.  New young mother in need receives a packet of clothes for her baby. 

This is an awesome ministry. Help where help is most needed.

New arrival babies are precious

Grateful mama, nurse inspects the gift.

God’s gift. A child is born.

Our Baby and Mama program keeps growing. There are too many to put pictures of every one. We will keep a count and update each month and will choose a picture or two to keep all posted. Your gifts are making the difference.

October Visitors

Abigail from New Zealand came home for her second visit. Abigail teaches CIRCUS. Yep, that is her profession and the kids love her and acrobatics she shares with them. She also cooks Chinese food for the kids each time she comes.

Shelia an anesthesiologist from Washington State paid Urukundo a visit on October 4, 2015. Her mission was to deliver a package for our young man John Paul. After being here and meeting the children and touring she has determined to return in 2016 when she returns to work at a Rwanda hospital. We will be delighted to welcome her.

Go ED. Africa Consulting Ltd. has returned for the second year. We are pleased to be connected to such a fine organization.

Last year (2014),  Abby & Sara did their Practicum while attending University in Rwanda at Urukundo Village.  Here in 2015,  Anne, Jillian, Olivia, and Anna; four special young women are serving their Practicum at Urukundo Foundation.  

Olivia music and dance time.

Jillian and refreshment time.

Ann with Teacher David at play time with the kids.

Anne & Olivia bringing Cow Grass to the cows. Go-Ed kids are so welcome at Urukundo.

Meredith Comes Home.

This young woman is part of our Urukundo Family. When I told the kids, we would have a visitor and that visitor was Meredith. One of the boys spoke up and said, “Mom, she is not a visitor, she is family.” Meredith, that makes it official.  Meredith has been family since 2009. 


Special October Newsletter

Nature Plays a Trick

October 1, 2015, will go down as memorable day in Urukundo Village. The hurricane strength winds, hail stones and rain from the night before (September 30) were devastating. Our farm lay in ruins. An earthquake last month and a hurricane/tornado this month I wonder what next month will bring.  

This crazy storm gave no warning. It ignored the homes (Praise God) but gave grief to the farm. One of the little boys told me, "mama the pigs roof flyed." He was right.  The whole roof was lifted in one piece and flew up the mountain.  The children saw it happen from inside the boy’s house. It was 5:30 in the evening and darker than usual but the kids could still see the roof fly.

Inspecting the damage at 6 am the next morning, I was joined by many of the more adventuresome kids still in bedclothes and towels.

We found the scene hard to believe.  The Pigs house. No roof. It FLYED.

The baby chick house.

The rabbit house. 

Roofing twisted and mangles in shambles.

The bunk house and cow barn. 

Work begins.

We really are grateful no one was hurt and the animals were ok, just had to be moved.  It will take some time but we will recover.  Life goes on.

Our first priority was getting the pigs under roof and protected. Moving the pigs was impossible. It took 20 strong men to pick up that roof bring it down the mountain and get it back in place. They did it.

Proof Positive.  A days work but the pigs are ok and under roof.

One week later. Bricks added will change the angle of the roof

October 10, new roof for rabbit & baby chick house. 10 days after the storm all roofs are in place.

Our workers are amazing. Now clean up and the interior work begins to restore the animals to their homes.

Thanks to everyone who came to our aid.

We were good but now we will be better. Each experience is a learning one.

Getting the roofs replaced is priority and that is nearly completed. I thank God for that. We took money from other accounts (school, Dental, sewing Center etc) in order to replace the roofs.  I am so glad this money was available but it has to be replaced in order to cover needs and wages for the month. Each gift helps replace that funding. 

The kids were great. Frightened yes, but they worried about me and the animals. Seeing the roof come off the pigs house and fly up the mountain is something they will not soon forget. 6 am October 1 the braver of the kids came out in towels and sleepwear and walked with me to inspect the damage to the farm.

Now that the roofs are in place it is time to clean up the inside damage and make the houses safe to return the animals to their places.  I should not be but was surprised at the ground level damage. Benjiman walked me through yesterday to see the roofs and I saw the inside damage more clearly. I think I was so concerned about the roofs, I did not see everything when I inspected the other times. 

The cows were most effected. I did know but had forgotten that when scared cows do not let down their milk and so the supply is limited until they are relaxed again. It did not effect the large chickens’ house. Only the baby chick house was demolished inside, roof and outside. The timing was ok. We had just moved the babies to the next house to bring in new babies. Don’t know yet if it traumatized the rabbits. So far no miscarriages. Hey, I really am learning a lot about life on a farm. 

Sorry it has taken me this long to get my thoughts together.


In closing, I leave you with this:

Your most appreciated gift can be sent to the address below or use the Donate button at the upper right-hand corner of the screen:

Hope Made Real
PO Box 3222
Williamsport,PA. 17701

Much love,

Mama Arlene
Urukundo Foundation/Hope Made Real

Help make their world a better place.


September 2015 Newsletter

September is not the month for school to start in Rwanda but it is a busy month just the same. We were blessed with wonderful visitors and trusting in God we started clearing and leveling the land for the toilet facility for the New Primary 4 class room and the expected Primary 5 & 6 when they are completed and students are there. Funds needed.

We saw our University kids settled in Kigali town. Two of them did start University in September.

Special Surprise

Teachers, Guards, Office personal and all available Home staff pitched in to make a difference at Urukundo Learning Center. They have declared an Umugunda (day set aside to do work on a volunteer basis) day just for our school. They are leveling and preparing the ground around the new Primary 4 building. This is hard work and so appreciated. 

Moving a Mountain

Jean Marie Exec Director second from the top in Red.
I am told he worked very hard.

Secretary Juliette moving dirt. Awesome job. Olive in black Shirt on the road. Office personal well representative. Notice I am not there.

 Primary 4 looking good

When the rains truly come grass and trees will be planted to hold the soil.

Teachers & Staff plan two more workdays in the next two-month.
Leveling work yet to be done.

News from the Urukundo Children’s Sewing Center Technical School

It was a pleasure to present a brand new sewing machine to the top student of our first Graduating class. We hope this will be an annual event.

Manager and head teacher Theresa and co manager and teacher Desiree present the gift to Mary Claire at the Sewing Center. A proud moment for all.

Mama & Baby House

The house for new mothers and their infants has taken on a life of it’s own. Not exactly what we had thought but in many ways better. Cultural conflict does not allow mothers to come and stay but they do come and visit with the Midwife and Nurse getting advise, help if needed and clothes for their newborn. At the same time we share with them clothes for their older children. This ministry is an outreach that now has expanded to more than just the mothers and the new born but to other needy children in our world. Our need for newborn clothes and clothes for older children is ever growing. Sharing is what we do at Urukundo. God in Charge.

Presenting hats for new born babies to the director at the birthing Center.

Nurse Julliane presenting the director with the first Layette.

Head of the Medical Center came to Urukundo to get a better understanding of our mission as a good neighbor and to give us a better understanding of the hospitals desire to work with us.

Development at the Sewing Center

The students and Head Teacher designed the Uniform for Urukundo’s sewing school. Next months newsletter will give more information as we develop and become a recognized Technical School for sewing.

New student Uniform for Sewing Center

Reunion of Louise and Luki

Louise came home to Urukundo after a 3 year absence to see Luki her sponsored child and all the kids. Louise has sponsored Luki for 9 years. She first met him when he was a 6 month old baby. It was a happy reunion. Luki is now 9 years old and in Primary 3 (third grade).


New look and new teacher at the Library

Librarian Irene -Pronounced E ra nay . He is a teacher and is learning how to manage a library. This takes special training. Volunteers needed.

Sports at Urukundo

Thanks to a new friend named Michael John, we have soccer balls. The kids are so excited to have such a wonderful gift.  We thank the Philadelphia Inquirer for the article they published. That article introduced Urukundo Kids to Michael. We are grateful to Diane Mastrull dmastrull@phillynews.com. She presented us very well.
Thank you
Mama & Kids



View from the present

Wish I had the original picture when these boys came to us as babies.
Some of you who have been with Urukundo from 2006 may remember the "TRIPLETS" all boys. We loved and supported them as tiny babies born to a mama with 9 children already. She needed help with milk and medical care for them.  Much to my surprise the mother came to worship at Urukundo Sunday, September 20 and brought the boys for me to see how they had grown.  What a wonderful surprise for me.  The boys are 9 year olds now and beautiful boys indeed.  Such happy smiles!

Another walk down memory lane
This is Belise, our first girl under 7 years of age.  Belise was 4 years old when she came to make her home at Urukundo. She has grown into a lovely young girl and is finishing her first year of High School.
She has a penpal named Katie in Pennsylvania, USA and enjoys writing to her sitting at mama’s desk.



Saying "bye" to visitors is a bit painful more for the visitors than for the children

Goodbye to Lennart and Angelaque

Lennart and his mother Angelique Westmark from Germany

This one was very hard.  Lennart Plays guitar for the kids and then sings a song every evening at devotions and Mama Westmark spent special time with all the kids at school and later with our kids at home after school.  Love her Rwanda necklace.

Katie Keating and her daughter Katrina pictured in the visitors section in August newsletter shared two of their favorite photos with me for this newsletter.

Daycare bunch at Nursery  All three and under. An elite group; Jenny, Kavine, Banite, Bella, Jacob, Jason
Edison, and Diane. Soso came to join in the picture, he is four. 

Johnny, Soso and Rebekah.  Thank you Katrina for sharing the photos.

Path to Learning

A stone was placed on the path to Learning in September to honor:
HENRY LEIGH by his daughter Debra Kenworthy.  We also placed a stone for Debra by her dad’s stone. It seemed appropriate. Thank you Debra!

The path extends from the gate to the Flagpole. We are now widening it by two stones near the flagpole. 


In closing, I leave you with this thought:

The vulnerable children of Rwanda and the world.

Opportunity is what they need. Your love. Their lives, Our world, You can make a difference.

Your most appreciated gift can be sent to the address below or use the Donate button at the upper right-hand corner of the screen:

Hope Made Real
PO Box 3222
Williamsport,PA. 17701

Much love,

Mama Arlene
Urukundo Foundation/Hope Made Real

Help make their world a better place.


August 2015 Newsletter

Earthquake on August 7 shook our beds waking us up from our nights sleep. Thankfully for us it was a small one. However, the kids have lots of questions so the devotion that evening explored what are earthquakes and why do they happen. I learned a lot because I am the one to answer questions. I get smarter every day.

August started off a very tough month.

Our youth from Urukundo in America is growing. We now have Kevin, Solange, Lucie, Tresor, Lilliane, and soon I hope Diescor will also travel to the US through a Rotary program for students.

August was a month of mixed emotions. Saying so long for a while to Tresor and Lilliane was such an event. We were all happy for them to have the opportunity to go to the USA for study but we will miss them and look forward to their return home in the future. The party was great fun.

P3 kids were allowed to stay late to the party. Nelly, Cedric, Emmanuel, Luki, Claude. Even Mama got caught in a photo or two.

I forgot the camera taking Tresor to the airport close to midnight. Lilliane went in the afternoon so we did get a few pictures.  Brothers Diescor and Alexander were on hand to say TRAVEL SAFE.

Carol Falke, State College, Lilliane and Pastor Sunny Stock pose for a photo for mama.  Lilliane really is in the USA. Hard to believe.  Thanks guys.

Sewing Center

Graduation at the SEWING CENTER.  Our first class to receive a certificate graduated on July 30,2015.  

The newest addition to our Urukundo family.

Her name is Livine.  Livine is 6 years old and in Primary 1.  Sarah was happy to welcome her as they are the same age and in the same class in school. They will be best friends as well as sisters. We now have Divine, Kavine and Livine.

Mama Delphine, Sister Monique, and our little girl. Livine is here to have a better life and achieve an education.


Visitors from Pittsbugh

Pirate fans of course. They brought Baseball to Urukundo. Margie & Bruce (Grandpa & Grandma) visited with son Rob, daughter–in-law and grandsons Wyatt, Henry, and Oscar, came with bats and balls and a lot of energy. The kids loved it. Little League World Series 2020 look out. Our champs may be ready. Soso will be a bit young yet.

Team players and teachers.

Running bases was exciting with a lot of cheering and encouraging shouts. Run! Run!, Touch the base, You’re out, etc. Missing the ball created a lot of laughter. It was a wonderful day for the kids.

Baseball players need a break. Looking out at the passers by on the road is such fun.

Slugger Kavine

Margie also brought Barb and Dale, good friends for a very long time.


More Fun

Ever hear of Rocket Balloons. Well I had not. Johnny’s sponsor sent them to the kids. There is a pump to inflate the very long balloons. You must hold the open end very tight. Then you point them in the air and let go. They go up with a squealing sound and the air carries them even higher. They do come back down to be flown again. Our football field is the perfect place because there are no trees or roofs for them to land on.It was such an exciting day for kids and visitors.

Kaboss and his green rocket. See others getting ready to be released.


The babies were included in the fun.

The library got a workout during the school holiday. The little ones in the morning and the older kids in the afternoon. The kids love books and stories. What better use for the library?

Kyra Manjone & Megan Bensinger came in August. Both girls had just graduated from Nursing school. Congratulations to both of you on your achievement. This is Megan’s third trip to Urukundo and the kids and Kyra’s first time. She has promised the kids she will come back.

A Gift Receieved

A gift from Christ Church McKeansburg of much needed communion cups was presented to our pastor in Worship. Claude helped do the presentation. He is becoming a leader among the children. The congregation was very please to receive the gift of pajamas for our kids All the little ones had to model the PJ’s although some were a very tight fit.

They fit the little ones just fine

Our visitor, Megan danced for The Lord and to please the children. Ballet is such a beautiful form of dance. Megan comes from Christ Church McKeansburg, Pa. Yes, this is where Lilliane is living and going to school. Megan will be there to cheer her on.

Kyra and Megan walked the kids to school many mornings and worked in the Preschool

Saying goodbye to Mary Moore was a bit painful for her and for the kids. Tears were shed. We look forward to her return.

Come back soon Mary!

Our secondary girls were happy to be together again. They each go to a different school and so it is a reunion each time they come home on holiday.

Debora, Anitha, Dada, Esperance

Deborah sends her love and appreciation to Karen in California

Esperance sends her love and appreciation to Yvonne in Reston Virginia.

Pacifique (Dada) sends her love and appreciation to Talia, her mom, and sister in PA.

Anitha sends her love and appreciation to Carol in Pennsylvania.

Belise says Thank You and sends her love and appreciation to Ed & Norma in PA. Belise was 4 years old when she became family.

From a grateful Mama

Let me add my Thank You and deepest heart felt appreciation. You are making such a difference in the lives of these young girls. It could not be done without your love and support.

Urukundo Foundation Board members inspect the new office complex. 

Urukundo National Board inspect the new development finished complex. Baby & Mama House, Office complex, Mama’s home, garden, trees, and beautiful Rwanda sky. We are so blessed!


The truly fun part of my job is greeting newcomers to Urukundo at the airport. This mama and daughter were a delight. Katie mom and daughter Katrina came for a 9 day stay. They had many interesting days with us. They also visited the GENOCIDE MEMORIAL IN KIGALI and KIBEHO a shrine far into the country south of Urukundo. They marveled that Oswalde our driver could navigate mountain roads. He is an awesome driver. We are blessed to have him.

Visitors from Germany

Relaxing in the front garden at Mama’s house Lennart Westmark a second time visitor brought his Mama Angelique to meet his family at Urukundo Village.

Auntie Jolly came home from University. Welcome home Jolly!

Jolly is preparing a bible study for evening devotions on Mama’s veranda. Yep with a cell phone attached to her ear. Seems to be the trend.

Path to Learning

A new stone was added to the Path to Learning at the Learning Center

In closing, I leave you with this thought:

The vulnerable children of Rwanda and the world.

Opportunity is what they need. Your love. Their lives, Our world, You can make a difference.

Your most appreciated gift can be sent to the address below or use the Donate button at the upper right-hand corner of the screen:

Hope Made Real
PO Box 3222
Williamsport,PA. 17701


Mama Arlene
Urukundo Foundation/Hope Made Real

Help make their world a better place.