Loading up for literacy

November 11, 2015  |  Events, General  |  1 Comment

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The Grace Rwanda team has been busy this week loading up our shipping container with generous donations from our local community.

The container is getting stocked with books and other supplies and will arrive in Rwanda this winter, ready to stock two more YEGO Youth Centre Libraries in needy communities. With these books, and with the generous donation of a matching grant from our Rotary partners and donations toward shipping costs, we are well on our way to establishing our next two libraries. These are planned for the communities of Kimisagara near the capital and Nyanza in the southern province.

Our dedicated volunteers — many from local Rotary clubs — have been helping load the container at the Rotary Help Warehouse at Riverview in Coquitlam. The container is nearly two-thirds full. We’re almost there!

Our next packing session is being held this coming Saturday Nov. 14. We’d love to see you come out and pitch in!

Among the goods we are shipping to students in need are thousands of books donated by local Rotary clubs and Langley and Abbotsford Schools, including 3,000 dictionaries. We have several computers donated by the Rotary World Help Network that will go to provide internet and computer access in our libraries.

In addition, there are more than 100 team soccer jerseys and sports equipment for youth in our YEGO youth library communities, donated by the Canadian National Women’s Soccer Team. A number of sewing machines and fabrics were donated by the Mennonite Central Committee to help Rwandans earn a living. Also included are some 800 hygienic sanitary pads made by the Riverside Calvary Chapel Sewing Bees group. And some office supplies to help establish our new Grace Rwanda office in Kigali.

All this precious cargo is scheduled to leave Vancouver on Nov. 21 and arrive 60 to 75 days later in Rwanda.

A heartfelt thanks to all our Rotary partners: from Rotary International to Rotary District 5050 and the Rotary Club of Langley Sunrise. Many thanks to individual Rotary volunteers and members of the Riverside Calvary Church who have come out to help us back the container.

Come be a part of loading up for literacy! To learn more about volunteering on Nov. 14 email elizabeth@gracerwanda.org.

You can get regular updates on our work by following @GraceRwanda, liking us on Facebook, adding us in your Google+ circle, and watching our videos on YouTube.

Getting Kids Reading in Rwanda

October 12, 2015  |  General  |  No Comments
Youth join literacy activities in Kayonza on Sept. 29.

Youth join literacy activities in Kayonza on Sept. 29.

We’re happy to report a great turnout for our Rwanda Reads event at our Kayonza YEGO Youth Centre Library on Sept. 29.

Grace Rwanda sponsored a literacy event in the town and supplied book bags as prizes to encourage young student readers as they participated in literacy activities.

We’re happy to be a part of building literacy capacity in Rwanda and creating a culture of reading!

In other news, two students here at home at UBC have joined Grace Rwanda as interns.

Silvana Romero and Aiman Ragab are motivating their fellow university students to donate books to Grace Rwanda’s upcoming shipment of books to Rwanda, with the goal of stocking two new youth libraries in the country.

The shipment is set to go out later this fall. Romero and Ragab are leading book drives on campus and fundraising for our latest project. We appreciate their enthusiasm and effort! Check out their campaign on Toonies4Change.org in the coming month.

Co-founder Elizabeth Johnson and President Paul Johnson were also in Kelowna recently speaking at the Calvary Chapel. They were met with heartfelt support for their mission and goal of setting up a Grace Rwanda office in Kigali this fall and stocking the new libraries with books.

The deadline is looming, so if you have books to donate or can pledge financial assistance to make this shipment a reality, please contact us at info@gracerwanda.org.

You can get regular updates on our work by following @GraceRwanda, liking us on Facebook, adding us in your Google+ circle, and watching our videos on YouTube.

Grace Rwanda at Rwanda Reads this fall

September 21, 2015  |  General  |  No Comments
Youth perform a literacy skit at the 2014 Kayonza literacy event.

Youth perform a literacy skit at the 2014 Kayonza event.

 

We’re happy to share the news that Grace Rwanda has again been invited to participate in Rwanda Reads this September.

We’ll be participating a special Literacy Day Expo at our Kayonza YEGO Youth Centre community library on Sept. 29 to mark the end of the month-long national reading festival. The country-wide literacy festival kicked off on Sept. 8 on UNESCO’s International Literacy Day.

The Expo will include interactive stations where youth can read and write and create, as well as book stations and other activities. Last year’s event included two oral storytellers that wowed the crowd. Grace Rwanda also   provided book prizes to help further encourage youth to get involved in a culture of reading.

We’ll report back with pictures from this special event later this fall.

In the meantime, we’d also like to update you on our latest fundraising campaign. Grace Rwanda is actively working to send a shipping container full of books to Rwanda this fall to help stock several additional youth libraries.

Our Rwandan dinner fundraiser raised $3,000 and books are being collected with the help of the Rotary Club of Langley Sunrise. Now a new Langley Rotary Club District grant will help us create two more libraries in the coming year.

We’d like to sincerely thank our partners for their support and vision in making this next phase possible.

You can get regular updates on our work by following @GraceRwanda, liking us on Facebook, adding us in your Google+ circle, and watching our videos on YouTube.

Blessed with support for our books for Rwanda campaign

August 28, 2015  |  Events, General  |  No Comments

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Thank you to all the supporters who came out to celebrate with us at the Grace Rwanda Dinner and Social hosted by the Riverside Calvary Chapel.

The event was a success, with inspirational speakers and delicious food. We raised more than $3,000 putting us a fifth of the way toward meeting our goal of shipping a container full of books to Rwanda this fall to stock up to 10 YEGO district youth centre community libraries.

The aim is to ship up to 30,000 books, plus more than 2,000 dictionaries supplied by Rotary Clubs, and 50 soccer team jerseys donated to our charity in the past by the Canadian women’s soccer team, which will support youth sports teams at the community centres.

We thank Riverside for their commitment to supporting our cause, and are also thankful for the ongoing support of the Rotary Club of Langley Sunrise and District 5050.

These dedicated supporters of Rwandan literacy have pledged to help collect books, supply dictionaries and assist in loading and transporting the container through the Rotary
World Help Network
.

We hope to meet our $15,000 goal and ship the container by the end of September. If you’d like to assist, please consider donating via our secure web site.

You can get regular updates on our work by following @GraceRwanda, liking us on Facebook, adding us in your Google+ circle, and watching our videos on YouTube.

Join us for a Grace Rwanda dinner and social

July 20, 2015  |  Events, General  |  No Comments

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Help us send off the Grace Rwanda team as they set up the next phase of our mission in Rwanda and fundraise for a new book initiative!

Join us for an inspiring evening at next month’s Grace Rwanda Dinner and Social. The event will be hosted by the Riverside Calvary Chapel, at their church at 20178 96th Avenue on Saturday, August 8, from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

Come hear how Elizabeth and Paul Johnson were moved to embark on their work in Rwanda, learn about their calling and motivation to serve through their non-profit charity and new Ineza Foundation venture.

The evening will include presentations from the couple, as well as an address from Pastor Brent Smith, an authentic Rwandan dinner, tea and dessert, plus African craft sales.

We hope to raise an estimated $15,000 for an upcoming charity initiative: shipping a container full of books this fall. We plan to fill it with enough volumes to stock up to 10 YEGO district youth centre community libraries in Rwanda. The aim is to ship up to 30,000 books, plus more than 2,000 dictionaries supplied by Rotary Clubs, and 50 soccer team jerseys donated to our charity in the past by the Canadian women’s soccer team, which will support youth sports teams at the community centres.

To learn more about the event or to RSVP email info@gracerwanda.org.

You can get regular updates on our work by following @GraceRwanda, liking us on Facebook, adding us in your Google+ circle, and watching our videos on YouTube.

Grace Rwanda in the news: From Kwantlen to Kigali

July 20, 2015  |  Articles, General  |  No Comments

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Grace Rwanda co-founder Elizabeth Johnson continues to inspire others with her dedication to youth literacy in Rwanda.

Recently the Kwantlen Polytechnic University graduate was profiled in the school’s 2014/15 Accountability Plan and Report, singled out with other exceptional grads who are contributing to their community.

In an article titled, “From KPU to Kigali: Langley humanitarian brings literacy to her home country,” the university highlighted Johnson’s “compassionate and international mindset,” and her “efforts to serve humanity and work toward peace.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Elizabeth Johnson is bringing literacy to Rwanda, one book at a time. Through the volunteer-run charity she co-founded after graduating from KPU’s School of Business, Johnson has to date helped renovate a Rwandan school, build six mini school libraries, build a kitchen facility that nourishes over 1,500 students and create two community youth centre libraries that are home to over 15,000 books.

Her next goal is to supply books to all 87,000 students in Rwanda’s Muhanga District, and 20 youth centres across the country. It’s work that takes a village. A Rotarian with Langley Sunrise, Johnson’s literacy efforts have connected local Rotary clubs in Langley and North Delta to multiple clubs in Rwanda. She has also received cross-Canada support from corporate sponsors and individuals.

The causes she supports have incredibly deep, personal roots within Johnson. Born and raised in Rwanda, she lived through the country’s Tutsi genocide in 1994. While there, she served in a variety of important positions with institutions that include the Ministry of Agriculture, Care Australia and World Vision. In 1999, she brought her compassionate and international mindset with her to Canada, where she now speaks across the country to raise awareness about genocide.

Read the full article in the Kwantlen report here, starting on page 33.

You can get regular updates on our work by following @GraceRwanda, liking us on Facebook, adding us in your Google+ circle, and watching our videos on YouTube.