News

Calgary Herald Interview: “Calgary Group to Deliver Goods to Refugees in Rwanda”

A story about our Mahama Camp Refugee Campaign, as published in the Calgary Herald on July 1, 2016.
Original link: http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/calgary-group-to-deliver-goods-to-refugees-in-rwanda

Published on: July 1, 2016 | Last Updated: July 1, 2016 7:04 PM MDT

Reprinted with permission.

By: Alia Dharssi

On Wednesday, three Calgarians will board a plane and begin a two-day journey to Rwanda. There, they will purchase and spend two weeks delivering goods like children’s shoes, solar lanterns, and mattresses that are desperately needed by the 49,000-odd Burundian refugees in the Mahama Refugee Camp in Eastern Rwanda.

“To be there physically, so I can give a message of hope, not only the supplies, but so they can see that people can come from far, like Canada, to visit them,” said Aline Nzeyimana, founder and president of Wings of Hope for Africa, the Calgary-based charity which is leading the group.

“It means a lot to the refugees, to know that, far away in Canada, there are Canadians who care. There are Burundians who have become Canadian who care for them.”

For Nzeyimana, 37, the mission is an intensely personal one. She moved to Canada in 2005 after fleeing Burundi as a refugee herself. Fearing for her life, she left partway through her university studies in computer science and landed in Montreal, where she stayed for two years, before settling down in Calgary.

Today, she is raising two boys while working in customer service for DHL, a shipping company.

“Thank God for Canada,” she said during an interview at her home in northeast Calgary on Canada Day.

Nzeyimana established Wings of Hope for Africa, which helps poor children and families in Burundi, in 2007 after having her first child. As she cared for her baby, she remembered poor mothers with young children she had seen begging for money in the markets and on the streets of Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital and her home town.

“I started to think of those mothers in Africa that don’t have anything to give to their children – the things they go through. Me – I have stuff in Canada. What about them over there?” she said.

Today, she has a detailed list of things that refugee children and mothers need that was sent to her by employees of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

It includes 20,590 pairs of shoes for children and teenagers between three and 18 years, 120 solar lanterns for the elderly and people with disabilities, 13,598 undergarments for women of reproductive age and mattresses covered in plastic for moms with 2,746 young children between 7 to 24 months, among other items.

Wings of Hope for Africa has raised $8,000 that will be put towards such items. Nzeyimana and the other volunteers from Calgary will buy the goods once they’re in Rwanda, stretching the funds as far as possible, but are still hoping for more donations from Canadians through the charity’s website.

Since April 2015, more than 269,000 people have fled Burundi due to political unrest spurred by the current president’s decision to run for an unconstitutional third term.

Wings of Hope for Africa Easter Donation to YWCA Calgary

Our first donations in Canada are complete!  This Easter weekend, we purchased and donated $5000 of in-kind supplies to the YWCA Calgary.  It was quite an undertaking, as you can see!  We purchased and delivered over 200lbs of rice, 100lbs of pasta, and many other essentials: cereal, canned food, pasta sauce, baby food, diapers, sanitary napkins, toothpaste and toothbrushes.  The supply shelves at the YWCA Calgary are now stocked.

This was our a first project in our lineup of donations to help Canadian families and communities, and carries through with our mission of helping with basic needs of life, right here at home.  YWCA’s work is focused on women’s support services related to family violence prevention, homelessness, poverty reduction, exclusion, and community-based supports for children and families.

Wings of Hope for Africa Easter Donation to YWCA Calgary
Wings of Hope for Africa Easter Donation to YWCA Calgary

We hope that this program brings support and hope to many more vulnerable individuals in Calgary and across Canada. We will be updating this site to update our supporters as we identify and establish connections with charity partners to help us carry out this project.

Thank you to our volunteers who helped with this project.  We look forward to more opportunities to help our local community in Calgary.

Wings of Hope for Africa Easter Donation to YWCA Calgary
Wings of Hope for Africa Easter Donation to YWCA Calgary

Wings of Hope for Africa Easter Donation to YWCA Calgary
Wings of Hope for Africa Easter Donation to YWCA Calgary

Photo 2016-03-26, 4 15 02 PM
Wings of Hope for Africa Easter Donation to YWCA Calgary

Wings of Hope for Africa Easter Donation to YWCA Calgary
Wings of Hope for Africa Easter Donation to YWCA Calgary

New Program Announcement – Helping Families and Communities in Canada

We’re excited to announce our new program in Canada!  Starting in March 2016, we will begin allocating a portion of our budget back to the local community.  It’s a way to carry through with our mission of helping with basic needs of life, right here at home.  We are starting by making an in-kind donation of basic supplies to the YWCA Calgary over the Easter Weekend.

We hope that this program brings support and hope to many struggling families in Calgary and across Canada.   Our aim is to supply in-kind donations and form partnerships with local charities and community organizations.  This new program aligns with our core mission of helping the poor, supporting healthcare, children’s education, and helping families in need, here at home in Canada. We will be updating this site to update our supporters as we identify and establish connections with charity partners to help us carry out this project.

Announcing the Kivumu Community Garden – Jan 2016

Happy New Year 2016! We are excited to announce that we have expanded to operate in the community of Kivumu, Burundi. We have just launched our Community Garden project, a sustainable agriculture project which will help 70 families per year. Our goal for the project is to provide families a starting point from where they can proceed and become self-sustaining by creating food security leading to increased quality of health. This is an ongoing and sustainable project made possible by our purchase of a permanent site for the community garden. In January 2016, we acquired a 1 hectare plot of land in Kivumu, currently being prepared to be planted by our participating families.

Kivumu Community Garden Wings of Hope for Africa, Burundi
Kivumu Community Garden Wings of Hope for Africa, Burundi

With the generous contributions of our sponsors, we were able to purchase the land for the community garden and begin the first phase of the project with 35 participating families. Here are the details of our work so far:

– January 4, 2016: We received $16,000 CAD from our sponsors on January 4th 2016
– January 12, 2016: We sent $10,000 CAD to our Wings of Hope for Africa team in Burundi. The remaining $6,000 will be sent once the first funds are depleted, we anticipate this will be in February 2016
– January 16, 2016: Wings of Hope for Africa Burundi team confirmed the receipt of the funds, and converted it into local currency for the land transaction ($11,000,000.00 million Burundian Francs)
– January 26, 2016: We purchased 1 ha of land for the community garden site
– January 28, 2016: We began the community garden project, distributed tools and trained the first set of families. The families are currently preparing the land, with the aim to start planting seed in the middle of February. Once they finish preparing the land, we will include a video with the February Progress Report for your viewing.

Kivumu Families Burundii Community Garden

This is a self perpetuating project. We will require the participants to grow the crops, dividing the harvest into three parts: crops to sell at the market, crops to eat at home, and crops from which to get the seeds for the next growing season, which they will be required to return to us for distribution to next season’s growers. Our next objective with this project is to lessen health problems related to insufficient nutrition. We will measure the success by conducting a before and after survey of health problems related to insufficient nutrition (adults and children). Our team in Burundi will use criteria such as malnutrition, stomach problems, fatigue, diarrhea.

We look forward to monitor the progress of this self-sustainable initiative and bring hope to this impoverished region in Burundi.

Kivumu Community Garden Wings of Hope for Africa, Burundi
Kivumu Community Garden Wings of Hope for Africa, Burundi

Fundraising June 4th 2015

Come join us for an evening of celebration as we wrap up our 2015 back to school fundraising campaign! We will be featuring a silent auction, drink tickets for some refreshing local craft beers and a chance to win some great prizes with our raffle draw… What an incredible way to kick start your summer! It will be a great event, supporting an even greater cause. Come be a part of it!

March 2015 Newsletter is Available

2014 was a highly successful year for the Wings of Hope for Africa Foundation. We were able to achieve a few major milestones in regards to achieving our fundraising goals of the September Back to School Campaign, Family sponsorships in October and November, the December Shine a light campaign, as well as the Raffle fundraising event at Cardel theater. We would not have been able to achieve our goals of helping families in Burundi with out your generous support. We are grateful for your continual support and we look forward to the exciting activities and goals
we would like to achieve in 2015. We hope you will continue to follow us on our journey and we look forward to a successful 2015.

Our latest newsletter can be accessed here.

Support Our 2015 Back to School Campaign!

Wings of Hope for Africa is a Canadian Charity founded in 2011. With the help of donations, we provide access to education, sponsor children in need, and help vulnerable families overcome poverty. Our small team is dedicated to building thriving communities by implementing distinct and sustainable practices to overcome poverty by working directly with the children and families in need. We are motivated by God’s love to serve all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. To this day we have helped over 100 families and 200 children through a variety of programs – education, child and family sponsorship, healthcare support and agricultural projects.