Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed a grant of $15,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to the Rwanda Church of the Brethren. The grant will be used to help families who have been displaced by the eruption of the Mount Nyiragongo volcano on May 22 and the ensuing weeks of earthquakes and tremors. Although the volcano is in the area of Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), it also affected the area of Gisenyi across the border in Rwanda.
In related news, an EDF grant of $20,000–representing a donation from the Meat Canning Committee of the Church of the Brethren districts of Southern Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic–has been given to Proyecto Aldea Global (PAG) in Honduras for a chicken-raising project to aid survivors of Hurricanes Iota and Eta.
The Rwanda church is assisting Congolese families displaced by the eruption who are sheltering in Rwanda and Rwandan families with homes damaged by the earthquakes.
The eruption has caused havoc for families in Goma, Gisenyi, and many villages on the northern end of lake Kivu, said the grant request. “The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported at least 32 deaths, thousands of homes destroyed, and hundreds of unaccompanied children in temporary care centers. An evacuation order for parts of Goma, along with the fear of an additional eruption, caused a reported 416,000 thousand to flee to areas west and south of Goma or across the border to Rwanda…. The UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) reports around 8,000 people from Goma fled to Rwanda seeking safety shelter and assistance. While some have returned to the DRC, there are still many families needing aid.”
There are four congregations of the Rwandan Brethren in the area where displaced families have fled: Gisenyi, Mudende, Gasiza, and Humure. Grant funds will help the churches provide food and supplies to 270 families, including rice, beans, maize flour, soap, and a plastic tarp for shelter.
The Meat Canning Committee works each year to can chicken for distribution in the US and to an international partner. Due to the pandemic, the meat canning was canceled in 2020. This year, the committee decided to raise funds and purchase canned meat to distribute, asking Brethren Disaster Ministries to help identify an international partner. Rather than shipping purchased canned chicken, the committee decided to support a chicken-raising program in Honduras for families affected by the 2020 hurricanes. The committee sent a check of $20,000 for this project to the Emergency Disaster Fund.
PAG has been a recipient of canned chicken in past years. This year, PAG proposed a project to distribute live chickens to 25 families, help build pens, provide education and a program to share chicks with recipients’ neighbors, with the goal of helping another 25 families when the gift is passed on. Each family will be supplied with the materials and help to build a chicken coop; will be provided with young laying hens and a rooster along with bags of feed; and will receive education on feeding, producing their own feed, and caring for and treating any illnesses of the chickens. PAG staff will continue to work with the families and help them grow a flock to pass on to a neighbor.
To give financial support to these grants, donate at https://churchofthebrethren.givingfuel.com/bdm.
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