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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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Article on Mama Arlene in the Post Gazette

The Post Gazette had a great article on Mama Arlene and Rwanda in general.

The Next Page: Rwanda’s reinvention


July 2016 Newsletter

Independence day in the US is also Liberation day in Rwanda.

How awesome that such a special day should be celebrated on the same day and in the same month in both my countries.

Special Thank You

To all of you who accepted the $10,000 challenge and made it a success Urukundo, our donor and mama are grateful. The Construction on Primary class rooms 5 and 6 will be finished by the end of August.

Progress to date July 27,2016 Photos

Front side roof, windows, doors.

Inside walls, blackboard

Back side, ventilators, window frames.

Thanks to your gifts to meet the challenge. Success is good.

Special African Day

Day of the African child was a special day for Urukundo kids.

We were invited to the gathering where the Mayor and many dignitaries were present. The amazing thing was the District sent a mini van to transport our kids to the gathering.

This is indeed a compliment to Urukundo Foundation

Our children.

I am so proud of them. They make us look good. The Head master from Urukundo Learning Center Irene, Exec Director Jean Marie and Auntie Chantal from the Nursery and I accompanied the children.

The event was held at the school for Special Children in Muhanga District.

The gathering was behind the Stadium in Muhanga at the school for Special Children on the far side of the hill. What a view!


Reward for a job well done.

The Karate team had Fanta and cookies to reward them for their excellent performance at the 10-year celebration

Something new at Urukundo

Louise from UK has introduced Yoga. She and and Luki are demonstrating. Great exercise for kids and adults alike.

Solar Power

What a blessing the sun is. Surely a gift from God. The sun is a great source of power, actually electricity. The sun is what we have plenty of. We are starting small with Solar electricity in the Home for boys and Home for girls.

The technicians arrived this month to start the installation. Claudia is the head tech. She is from Austria. She and her husband formed a company in Rwanda and we are blessed by their relationship with us.


It is our hope to extend this power to the farm. The baby chicks need light 24 - 7 hours so it would be beneficial to get that light from the sun as the source. And reduce our electricity bill.


Farm expanding. Piglets are a good source of revenue


New house for baby pigs.

Path to Learning

New stones on the Path to Learning


Welcoming a Pennsylvania girl and her husband to Urukundo was my pleasure. Keena Thrush is from the Williamsport area (mama’s home area), her husband, Matthias Ratz is from Germany and they both live and work in Hong Kong. How is that for being international.

Old friends are special Pastor Boyd and I have a 10-year history. We met in Rwanda. I have visited in his home and spent time with he and his wife Shirley in PA. He visits me each time he comes to Rwanda. 

New friends are to be treasured Susan is new to Rwanda and a delight. It was so good to greet Boyd again and meet Susan for the first time.

Rebecca visited Urukundo before with (Home Girl) Valli Meeks and returned bringing friends with her.

Thank you, Rebecca. Come back soon.

Visiting students Rebecca Salzman, Patrick Van Meter, and Michael Klauser from University of Maryland School of Dentistry

Mama and Baby House

Twin boys this time.



Four of the 12 new babies born in July.

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.


June 2016 Newsletter

Newsletter for June

June is the anniversary month celebration for ten years, Finally after 10 years signs of our times are here. Tooting our own horn.


Sign going North toward Kigali

Sign going toward Gitrama.

At the back entrance to the Village Opposite the school wall

On school wall.

New Outhouse to feed human waste into the Bio-Gas system. Animal waste is already in the system. Amazing how what "goes around comes around."

Congratulations to our first ever Medical Students

Diescor’s goal has always been to be a doctor. The first step in reaching that goal took place June 15 when he was accepted as a student at Gitwe school of Medicine. I need your help. Can you commit to an amount annually to see this young man achieve his goal. A small amount or a large amount would be appreciated. Doctors and friends please sign on as support for Diescor. Contact me with any questions or detail’s needed for you to help: arlene@hopemadereal.org

Nurse to be: Anitha

Anitha has a dream and help is needed in funding for her to attend Gitwe School of nursing. She has been accepted for the September term. To my nursing friends and others, help is needed with funding. Make Anitha’s hope a true: HOPE MADE REAL


The children helped open the gifts received during the 10 Year celebration. The were delighted with the Giraffe and thought the material was nice but the biggest hit was the box of chocolates. That treat was shared by all. The giraffe now sits on the mantle in my setting room where the children and visitors can enjoy it. This precious gift came from the teaching staff at the school.

This beautiful full piece of material was a gift given to me by The Urukundo Board of Directors

The chocolates from this lovely friend

Mama and Baby House

My daughter, Jacque, visited mama and baby and the birthing center providing clothes for the newborns.

This little boy (newborn) came with his mom to the Mama & Baby house on June 23. What joy knowing we are making a difference.


Saying goodbye to my daughter Jacque and Hello to our very first volunteer Denice who came in 2006. Sadness and joy mixed.

After a too short visit Danice Brown (no relation just loved) departed for the airport and a continuation of her journey

Meredith’s time to say farewell.

Nursery gang in full force.

No one wanted to see her go.

Big Talia visits little Talia and her Rwanda family.

Now it is Talia’s turn to say goodbye. This is the hard part. Safe journey Talia. One more visitor to go and Lennart goes home to Germany on Monday.

What joy! After two years, Kaboss and Vincent were reunited. The surprise visit was a joy for all Urukundo especially Lennart. Vincent and Lennart volunteered at the same time two years ago and became good friends.

Lennart saying good bye to Livina and the kids. His guitar and songs have been such a blessing during the month he shared love with the children. Thank you Lennart!

Pathway of Learning

A new stone on the Path in loving memory.

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.


10 Year Anniversary

Ten years ago it was just a tiny seed.

With a lot of tender loving care from so many, it began to sprout, and the growth has been awesome.  God in Charge.

A wonderful tribute event to 10 years of love shared with you in the following pictures.  

In the wee hours of the night, tents and chairs appeared on the football field.  Workers were preparing for the 500 or more guests expected to attend. Now I thought that was expecting a lot but by the time the event started every chair was filled and more benches were needed. What a recognition to Urukundo Foundation and Hope Made Real with this expected turnout.

Tents lined the entire field and were full with welcomed guests!

The children had their own tent. What a beautiful sight.

Our international Guests- Louise Midland from UK, Meredith Lu from USA, Lennart Westmark from Germany,  and Talia Sainclair from USA. These international guest represented our Volunteer Alumni.

Guest Bruce Krogh, Carnagie Mellon. 

It was wonderful to have a board member from Hope Made Real present at our celebration, secretary Margie Krogh was a delight.

Karate Demonstration

Master William and his Urukundo Karate kids demonstrated their talents.

My University Girls

Divine, Anett, Esperance, and Jolly Divine

My University Boys

John Paul, Diescor, and Alexander


My youngest Jacque traveled from Pennsylvania to Rwanda to be with me during this special event.  Having one of my children from USA travel and attend the celebration was such a pleasure.

We were honored by Exec Secretary of the District, Celse Gasana, and a representative of the National Commission of Children, Eugenie.  We so appreciate their presence.

Claire Effiong from Esthers Aide and her colleague sit with our Headmaster Irene.


John Paul & Diescor with the older children choir sing for our guest

The choirs combined to sing a song together.  It was heavenly music.

Touring Urukundo

Jean Marie conducts a tour for our guests

Viewing the Path to Learning Stones placed with LOVE by many of you.

Gifts were given to Urukundo’s Founder/Director.

Urukundo Board made Mama burst into pure joy close to tears.

Jean Marie, Oswald, Felix, Felicitie, and Hildebrand.

A dear friend Grace also presented a lovely gift. All Chocolates. Wow!!!

A speech was presented by the older children thanking Urukundo for loving them.

A poem was written as a tribute to Mama by the teachers. It made me cry.


Staff and our children enjoyed the day.

Mama walked across the field, Joyce and Jacob came to greet her and be her escort. It was such fun.

Betty Mama boys house, Chantel Mama at Nursery, Rahab manager of childrens shop at sewing center. All had a job to do during the celebration and did it well.


Big brother, Etienne, come home to be with the kids this special day. We love parties especially when the big kids come home.

Of course, Mama had to make a speech as well. You will find it at the bottom of this Special 10 Year Anniversary post. It is a summary of events and the goals for the next 5 years at Urukundo Home and Learning Center.

A few words were presented by Eugenie whose heart is also with the children of Rwanda.

Our guest of honor, Exec. Director of Muhanga District, Gasana Celse closed the program with encouraging words for Urukundo and the work being done.

No party is complete with without food and drink. There was plenty for all

So ends a beautiful day.

Our banner flies high and we view it with proud and joy.


Welcome honored guest and friends to Urukundo’s celebration of sharing love for 10 years with our neighbors in Muhanga District.

I would like to tell you briefly how and where Urukundo started, how it has grown in the 10 years and the vision for the next 5 years.

In 2006, Urukundo actually began as a home for girls. A house was rented in Kibirigi and at that time there was only one mama, one girl (this one) and one guard.  By the beginning of 2007, the local Mudugudu approached Urukundo about a need for a home for 6 young boys. A second home was then rented to accommodate the street boys. Those 6 boys are now young men and remain a part of our family.

By the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008, we had purchased land in Binunga Village, Cyeza Sector for our chickens and since we already owned the land and the children needed a better place to call home.  We decided to start by building a new home for the boys on the land and then one for the girls to permanently give them a more safe and stable environment to grow up in. That was when Cyeza sector became Urukundo’s permanent home. The Urukundo family continued to grow.  As the family grew we slowly purchased more hectors to help with the much needed expansion to add a farm with chickens, cows, pigs, rabbits, goats, and a vegetable garden. By doing so we feed the children with the produce from the farm.

2010 was a very important year for us. We started using manure to produce biogas to cook with and it also helped in the conservation of wood. The other major event in our 2010 history was when the Rwanda government recognized the Urukundo foundation officially.

In 2011 thanks to cooperation between F X B and Urukundo Foundation a free water system was built with the help of the Binunga community. Bringing the water up the mountain and nearer the road was a blessing for many. Through the combined efforts trenches were dug and pipes were laid.  As electricity was not accessible solar pumps were installed to pump the water from the bottom of the mountain to the reservoir at the top. We give special thanks to Rotary International for funding these Solar Pumps and Rotary Vuringa/ Kigali for being our sponsor here in Rwanda.

In 2012 a formal dedication was held and we were honored by having the governor of South Province and the Mayor of Muhanga at the dedication of the new water system.

In May of 2011, the Urukundo Learning Center had its start by opening the Cyakabiri preschool.  Thanks to the district of Muhanga. It was wonderful to be able to open its doors for the young children. Since then, each year another grade level had opened. 

We are now in the process of building Primary 5 and 6 and should be complete and opened by January of 2017.

With an MOU connecting Urukundo with the National Rwanda University School of Dentistry, a dental clinic was established here on Urukundo and we are waiting for the acceptance from the ministry of health for the official opening.

Since 2009, we have provided a home for 54 children.  Of these 54 children; 23 are all under 10 years of age, and now live in the Urukundo home for children. The remaining 31 are cared for by their Rwandan families and their education and additional expenses are covered by Urukundo Foundation.

Seven members are going to universities. Four are studying at universities in Rwanda and three are studying in Universities in America.

I must also note that we have two others who are waiting to be accepted into the field of medicine at a university. The remaining are in Secondary school or have found Jobs and are becoming responsible citizens.

I am also pleased to say that Urukundo employs 69 Rwandan citizens.  This helps make the Urukundo family feel even more complete.

Education being our priority we also encourage our employees to seek further education. To date with help from Urukundo 8 employees have attended and graduated universities. Six with bachelor degrees and 2 with master degrees.  At present two of our staff are finishing at the University this December with bachelor’s degrees.

And now our next 5 years vision has already started.

In July, which is just next month, solar electricity will be added to both the boys’ home and the girl’s home.

I am also pleased to announce that as of last week Urukundo was able to purchase the property next to the Primary 6 classrooms. With our vision of a secondary school the land acquired will complete the acreage needed to build a secondary school. In 2017, we will petition the Muhanga District for permission to construct & equip a Secondary School.  The vision doesn’t stop just gets better.

This secondary school will let our community children live at home with family and attend secondary school reducing the cost of higher education.

Low and no income families will also have the opportunity to send their children to secondary school and have them live at home.

In our long-term plan, a technical University is also part of our vision. Creating a learning facility for much needed skills as plumbing, electricity, masonry, automotive, culinary and the list goes on.

We are in the process of acquiring funding for that technical University. This would require the district to help us obtain the land where we can extend our school. The technical school is needed and would be an asset to Cyeza sector and Muhanga District.

Moving into the age of technology Urukundo has established a computer lab and are working and will be ICDL certified this month.  This program is to certify business men & women in the use of the computer to make their business more efficient.

Thank You


Congratulations Diescor!!

When I thought it could not get better. IT DID!

On the very day of our celebration Diescor (The taller of the boys in this picture) received notification of his acceptance into GITWE HOSPITAL SCHOOL OF MEDICINE.   He will start this journey in his life in September.

Hoping some of our doctor friends and others will come on board encouraging this special young man and to see him through his years building his future and the future of Urukundo.

John Paul and I are so very proud to make this announcement.