Who is Mama Arlene?
Arlene Brown, at the age of 80, is a real woman of strength. After her retirement from industry she served in her Pennsylvania hometown-- as honorary chairwoman of the Crop Walk, as a tutor in her neighborhood school, and even worked with women in prison. Typical of many women of her generation, she raised a family of five and went to work only when her first born needed tuition for college. She is a woman who exemplifies compassion and virtue.
Then, on January 17, 2002, this strong woman found herself less than one-half mile away from erupting Mount Nyiragongo, in the Congo. She was sent running for her life along with over 400,000 Rwandans. What was this grandmother from the Mountains of Pennsylvania doing in Africa? She was returning to Gisenyi, Rwanda to work with refugees. It was her second mission to Africa. After she retired she traveled as a volunteer to work at the Children’s Village of war-torn Rwanda and Zaire. She, along with the Red Cross and other relief organizations, were evacuated with the escalation of the war. Then in 2002 she sold everything she had and returned to work with non-profits to care for orphaned children who had recently returned to their native country in the aftermath of the genocide.
Since her initial work in Goma, Zaire, in 1996, she has been an outspoken advocate for Rwandan children. She has a rightful passion for the children and will talk to anyone who will listen. She has a strong resolve to make a difference in the lives of these motherless children.
"My mission, with the help of innumerable others, is to inspire the next generation of Rwandan leaders by placing these children in family homes where love, care, spiritual discipleship and physical needs are provided until each child is mature enough to live independently. Our goal is to equip these precious children with moral standards and life skills enabling them to make a significant and lasting impact on the future of our country and for the kingdom of God. We want each child to become the unique individual God called him or her to be."
- Mama Arlene