Dear friends and family, I'm reaching out to you in the name of a young man that I had the opportunity to meet while in Rwanda in 2013. Jonas back then was 16 years old and due to his mother's sickness couldn't continue his studies. Somehow, though at the time a backpacker without any regular income myself, I agreed to pay his school fees. I am glad I did, even though I had to overcome my own resistance at the time. Questions like these would pop into my head: Is he trustworthy? How do I know the money will go to the right place? Why am I doing this, since there is definitely more abundant people than me?
I don't know why life put us in each other's lives, but I'm glad I surrendered and didn't listen to that sceptic voice inside. Supporting Jonas over the last 4 years has taught me so much about what it means to be human, allowing me to drop many stories of 'me', a white privileged person, versus 'him', someone from a third world country. In order to be able to do it, I had to really open my heart and acknowledge his dreams, fears, insecurities and courage...as the same as mine. How then could I possibly turn away? In order to do this journey together we also had to learn how to trust each other. I had to let go of my fear of being taken advantage of and he had to let go of the fear of rejection, each time he asked for the next school payment, each time both of us learning vulnerability.
Now Jonas is at University, school of business and economics, and needless to say doing really well. He has proven himself a hardworking, trustworthy and very altruistic young man. Because of the increase in fees and Jonas's younger brother, whose school fees also need to be paid, Jonas asked me if I could support him in starting his own business, while he will continue to attend evening studies. Even after finishing University many of his mates are now faced with unemployment. Jonas' dream is to become an independent and successful entrepreneur who can help empower his community, especially young people in similar situations as him. He wants to achieve that by starting a restaurant, that will help him pay for his studies, his brother's schooling and will give him the chance to employ some of his colleagues from uni, who are now looking for work.
Me and Jonas would be beyond grateful if you felt inspired to support this project. There is not much in ways of rewards that I can offer you as an expression of gratitude in exchange. However, I am planning to travel to Africa February next year, where I would visit Jonas, take some photos and videos of his project and share with all of you to see what your generosity has helped create!!! If you want to be updated on the project, please send me your email: [email protected], and I will be in touch.
I thank you from deep within my heart for your support in advance. Beneath, I would like to share with you in Jonas' own words his story and intention. Only when I read this, did it actually hit me what we take for granted and what an impact we can make in someone's life. I left it the way I received it without correction. Please read for yourself.
Iam by name of JONAS
NSENGIYUMVA Iam 20 years old, I live at Kigali, I am a
student at university of Rwanda(college of business and
Iam born in a
family of 6 children(2boys&4girls) ,none of my parents
has any school and both are HIV positive!We grew up in poor
conditions of eating once or not a day,lack of school fees,
house rent etc but our father sent us to the schools to
prepare for our better future . I was clever and
intelligent in class with the dreams of being reliant man
like managers,directors etc.. in the future But later I
became discouraged when my father passed
Now our live
became too bad and my sisters stop their studies because
nobody would help us as our relatives are
also subsistant farmers. Later my sisters failed to resist
the bad situations then one by one choose to Marry
ineffectively the boys who were cheating them with little
help,but me I left with my mother and young brother and kept
studying in a funy way that one person gives me a pen, an
other books, second handed shoes or bag etc.. Until the
When I was About starting Advanced
level, My mother got attacked by Tubelculosis (TB) which
turned into hands and leg PARARISE !her work is cleaning and
painting, so with this disabilities she would no longer work
at all! so my studies stopped there for a year because lack
of school fee yet I have had passed in National Exams. Now i
was discouraged,and became hopeless, sorrowful.Now my every
day question was "Why AM I BORN ".
My dreams was stoped at all but
There is a special person, very kind lady, effective one she
is by the name of KATHALINA PATZELTwho turned my dreams back
which was difficult but she took me back at school!. It is a joy to me and my family
even though we're still struggling with every day life
and my mother's illness but we believe that at the end
of my studies the situations will change!
My dreams are achieving the
abundance so that I will be able to help others in the
same situation that I've grown through and assisting
many people especially poor through my studies by creating
jobs in the unemployment world as an
Below you will find photos of Jonas, his younger brother and mother, his extended family, the building, he wants to turn into a restaurant, and Jonas at university!