Project for 2003

Hope and Homes for Children (Rwanda)

At the Kennington Overseas Aid annual selection meeting on 10th January we were faced with the usual problem: three very worthwhile projects, all of which we would have liked to support, and which we know Kennington would be pleased to contribute to.  However when the time came to vote, one project had a clear majority, providing help for children orphaned by genocide and AIDS in Rwanda, and in particular in the village of Gikongoro, to enable them to stay together as families even though without parents.

Hope and Homes for Children

Hope and Homes for Children was born in 1994 by Mark and Caroline Cook. Mark Cook, the British UN Commander in Croatia, left his 30 year army career after making a promise to help 60 children living under bombardment in the cellar of their destroyed orphanage. Initially between 1992 - 95, Mark and Caroline raised money to rebuild two orphanages, in Croatia and in Sarajevo, which had been destroyed in the war. In 1996, the cry for help came from Albania, where they rescued 55 children living in appalling conditions in a state orphanage, by providing them with a beautiful new home.

In Africa they work through partner organisations to support orphaned children who have no parents left alive, or only a frail grandparent to look after them. They ensure that the children are fed, educated, clothed and housed, and above all, kept together as a family. What these destitute orphaned or abandoned children need most in life is the love and security of a stable family.

In three months in 1994 more than 800,000 people were killed during the genocide in Rwanda. Over 300,000 children were left living without any adults in their family. In recent years HIV/AIDS has also devastated already stricken families and communities. Life in refugee camps increased the number of HIV positive people which is responsible for even more orphaned children. Rape was used as a weapon during the genocide leaving many widows HIV positive and many children orphaned.

Hope and Homes for Children supports over 400 children living in families without a parent. Support is according to each family’s needs – food, education, training, home repairs, help with farming or micro-enterprise – with the aim of keeping these children together in families, giving them the chance to care for one another and fulfil their potential.

The Project

If we continue to raise the money as we have in recent years, then we will be able to help around 50 families to stay together, to survive, and to have hope for the future. These families are headed by children… orphans looking after orphans. Our fund-raising will provide the children with help to repair their homes, basic equipment like cooking pots, food and clothes, medical care, money to enable them to go to school, help to start a small enterprise or to grow food and a caring adult to visit and support them.

If you would like to have further details of the project, please contact Sylvia Vetta (739071) or Clive Rodgers (739447).  KOA needs as many helpers as possible, and would warmly welcome anyone who feels that they could help in any way with the various money raising events.  A few hours of your time helping the less fortunate can be both rewarding and fun.  Either come along to one of our meetings, or phone Sylvia or Clive.  The next planning meeting will be at 8 p.m. on Friday 14th February at 166 Poplar Grove.

Watch the Chronicle for information about the 2003 Fund Raising Programme!