From Martha, international advocate for the Dufatanye Organization in Rwanda
I am so grateful to you who have been able to give to the Dufatanye Organization operating budget and to our Hunger Relief fund. We have been able to pay wages to our DO staff, in addition to raising $90,000 to feed thousands of people who might have starved in Rwanda during the quarantine. I am especially thankful for the ZMission Founder and Director, Mr. Clarke Kennedy, who has labored tirelessly to raise a large portion of the money. With God's help, we have fed over 10,000 people over the last months with over one hundred tons of maize flour and beans, in addition to providing a 12-inch bar of soap to every family that has come for aid. This is definitely like watching Jesus multiply the fishes and loaves. It's been miraculous! How I thank God and you too!
This past Friday was the end of the fourteenth week in our Hunger Relief Mission. It was the first week that we have had no money in our accounts to send. Our funds are completely depleted.
Godfrey Karema, the Founder and Director of the Dufatanye Organization, wrote a moving email. I’d like to share some parts with you here:
“We would like to thank you abundantly for your prayers and sacrifice in terms of time, resources and love for the huge work you have done to save lives here. You have been like good Samaritans, standing with us during this difficult time.
To be honest, life is not yet back to normal. COVID-19 cases are increasing and some places are back to total lockdown. One lady shared with me, 'I sell clothes at a shop in town. At the end of two days, I have not had a single person even ask the price of one of my clothes. I sit there all day and nothing. My customers were people attending weddings and going to church. Now I am finished.'
Before COVID-19 started, heavy rains had destroyed many farms and gardens throughout the country, including at the DO, where we lost over $6000 worth of fruits and vegetables. In some areas, mud slides and flooding also destroyed homes. Many have lost jobs due to the virus. Others have lost all means of shelter and support due to the flooding and mud slides on top of the virus.
We were feeding 700 families every week, but thankfully, approximately 400 of those families are able to survive mostly on their own now. But, due to the problems mentioned above, at least 300 families are still in a terribly vulnerable place with no food. I am writing this letter to kindly request another $5000 support each week for four more weeks to feed 300 families and sometimes more depending on the situation. I do not want our people to become dependent on your generosity. For now, this is a not an issue of dependency. It is an issue of survival”
Before concluding, I (Martha) want to acknowledge that many people in the US, including yourself, may have donor fatigue from all the needs bombarding you. I totally get this. Even as I ask for more financial resources to feed the people in Rwanda, there are organizations in the US that need food to distribute to hungry Americans. I merely ask you to pray and ask God to show you how to help, whether in the US or on behalf of hungry and desperate people in Rwanda.
We are grateful for the support that some have sent for the relief of the families and individuals in Rwanda who are struggling finding enough food to eat, given that they have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis and associated lockdowns in Rwanda.
Over the last 8 days, we have been able to serve 704 families with food relief, with much thanks to the Lord, and to those who have been willing to help us purchase food to feed them.
Let us continue to pray for grace, mercy and favor for those whom we are helping to feed their families, as well as for the those who are generously giving of their resources and time to help solve the problems of need for daily food among the people in Nyanza, Rwanda.
Today is the first week that we have reduced our feeding program to half of what we have been doing through April and May. We are still giving the same amount of food for each family (22 pounds corn flour, 11 pounds of dry beans, and one 12 inch long bar of soap) to last for one week.
We are thankful that the country is slowly having the restrictions lifted, but it looks like through June 1st lockdown remains in place for non-essential workers.
In addition to this, about fifty people/families have approached us who have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis, and some of those are due to businesses having closed with no immediate expectation that they will be able to re-open.
Our current plans are to provide food assistance next week similar to this week (which is for about half as many families as the first eight weeks of the crisis), and then after the week ending June 8, see how many families still need assistance due to job losses.
We definitely do not want to create dependency, and this is something we think about in all of the relief work we do. We are always seeking to help people be self-sufficient, through providing skills and opportunities for work and dignity. At the same time, we do not want to abandon people that we can help who are truly facing destitution, and do not have anywhere to turn for help.
We thank the Lord for this privilege of helping those in need, and we are grateful for the many who have helped us to respond, and continue to respond as this crisis begins to lessen, and as more people can get back to work. We are grateful for the prayers and help of everyone who has joined us in this service to Christ and those He loves. As Jesus said, "Whatever you did to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me."
21 April 2020
Humanitarian Aid The world is not only facing “a global health pandemic but also a global humanitarian catastrophe”, the UN food relief agency chief told the Security Council on Tuesday via video link.
World Food Programme✔@WFPWFP Chief warns of hunger pandemic as #COVID19 spreads.
Noting that the global spread of COVID-19 this year has sparked “the worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two”, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley pointed to deepening crises, more frequent natural disasters and changing weather patterns, saying “we’re already facing a perfect storm”.
As millions of civilians in conflict-scarred nations teeter on the brink of starvation, he said, “famine is a very real and dangerous possibility”.
Mr. Beasley painted a grim picture of 135 million people facing crisis levels of hunger or worse, coupled with an additional 130 million on the edge of starvation prompted by Coronavirus, noting that WFP currently offers a lifeline to nearly 100 million people – up from about 80 million just a few years ago.
“If we can’t reach these people with the life-saving assistance they need, our analysis shows that 300,000 people could starve to death every single day over a three-month period”, he upheld. “This does not include the increase of starvation due to COVID-19”.
Requesting assistanceNoting that WFP is the “logistics backbone” for humanitarians and “even more so now for the global effort to beat the COVID-19 pandemic”, the WFP chief urged the Council to “lead the way”.
“First and foremost, we need peace”, he said.
He asked that all involved in the fighting provide “swift and unimpeded” humanitarian access to vulnerable communities and for coordinated action to support life-saving assistance, along with $350 million in new funding, to set up a network of logistics hubs to keep worldwide humanitarian supply chains moving.
Mr. Beasley also raised the need for early warning systems: “If we don’t prepare and act now – to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade – we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months.”
In closing, he underlined that “we do not have time on our side, so let’s act wisely – and let’s act fast”.
As we continue to feed those struggling to survive under the ongoing lockdown and latent effects it has created, we are rejoicing in a large gift of stock we have received that will help us to feed 3,000 people in Rwanda for two weeks. The gift is also allowing us to provide clean water through the addition of a 5,000 gallon holding tank for a well that is used to provide clean drinking water to the community. We are grateful for the gifts we have received, of all sizes, that have allowed us to provide food for approximately 3,000 people per week since the week of March 21 when the lockdown went into effect.
By Ralph Kurtenbach, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 (605) 728-3079 (WhatsApp), May 14, 2020, Nyanza, Rwanda