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From hunger to happiness

Sponsorship radically changes a Rwandan girl's life. Now, having experienced the love of her sponsor, she has a heart to help others in need.

June 2008



Solange's eyes light up as she reads through her sponsor's letter with Beatrice Bakayirere, her World Vision sponsorship worker.
Solange's eyes light up as she reads through her sponsor's letter with Beatrice Bakayirere, her World Vision sponsorship worker. "I know my sponsor," Solange says. "I love her very much! She sponsors me because she loves me. I pray that she may have a fullness of life."
Photo ©2007 Jon Warren/World Vision
Solange Uwizeyimana's journey from deprivation to a full life began five years ago — the day she was sponsored through World Vision.

"Before sponsorship, we had a very bad life," says her mother, Virginie, 59. "We didn't have enough food; we had no manure for our crops to produce; we didn't have enough clothes."

'I remember hunger'

Memories of the family's difficult past will probably never be far away. "Hunger," says Solange. "I remember hunger. It was very bad. I used to feel powerless, without any strength."

Acute food crises often predominate in Rwanda, where Solange and her family live, and where about 60 percent of the population lives on less than $1 per day.

In this small, mostly rural central African nation, 90 percent of families are subsistence farmers who till small, overused land plots with few tools or equipment that's outdated. Throw erratic rainfall into this dire equation, and it's clear why most households are unable to grow enough food to meet their needs.

Increased food and faith

World Vision began working in Solange's community, Nyaruguru, in 2000. One of the primary goals in our sponsorship projects is to come alongside families and communities to establish stable food sources — meeting dire, short-term needs, while focusing on long-term solutions. In Rwanda, we train farmers in agricultural skills to help them grow more nutritious food for their families.

Solange says she noticed things changed right away when World Vision began caring for the community. "They started providing food, beans, rice, maize flour, and also cooking oil. At each stage, World Vision continued to assist us..."

World Vision also provided the family with a cow. "Before Solange goes to school, she gets to drink milk," her mom adds.

Staff members also have had an impact upon the family. "…They are Christians," says Virginie. "They produce fruits among us; my faith has increased by knowing them. Before, I was living in loneliness, but when I met them, my faith increased. We took time to pray and have fellowship."

A sponsor's love

Solange stands with her mother, Virginie, in front of their house in Nyaruguru, Rwanda, a place nestled among green banana trees, grasses, and stalks of maize that cover nearby hills surrounding the village.
Solange stands with her mother, Virginie, in front of their house in Nyaruguru, Rwanda, a place nestled among green banana trees, grasses, and stalks of maize that cover nearby hills surrounding the village.
Photo ©2007 Jon Warren/World Vision

Solange's sponsor has a particularly special place in her heart. "The day I got my sponsor, I was very happy, and I laughed a lot. I was so happy!" says the 11-year-old girl.

She brings out a manila folder full of letters, her eyes lighting up as she scans through them.

One reads: "Happy Birthday, Solange." Another begins: "Dear Beloved Friend, Solange, I love you very much."

Solange's sponsor also has been a huge support to the whole family. Extra gifts beyond monthly sponsorship contributions have purchased much-needed supplies, including sacks of food, farm tools, clothing, eating utensils, toys, school supplies, and more.

"Because of the food provided, Solange has never been hungry [since she was sponsored]," her mom says. "…Solange is the only one sponsored in the family, but everyone benefits."

Summing up her sponsorship experience, the grateful girl simply says: "I will help others because I have been helped."


Learn more


>> Read about the deepening global food crisis and World Vision's work to address hunger.
>> Learn why World Vision uses food aid as a tool to fight global hunger.
>> Check out this BBC country profile on Rwanda.

Three ways you can help

>> Thank God that Solange, her family, and her community are overcoming Rwanda's hunger crisis. Pray for the tens of millions of children and families who still are suffering because of the global food crisis, growing hungrier by the day.
>> Sponsor a child in Rwanda. Provide life-changing support that helps a child like Solange to reach his or her God-given potential.
>> Help provide food and care to desperately hungry children and families. Your gift will multiply six times in impact to provide life-saving assistance to those who need it most.

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