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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

WOMEN HELPING WOMEN

In 2004, I watched a PBS Frontline show called Ghosts of Rwanda. Then I read some books and information online about the genocide in Rwanda. Two organizations that I support are Rwanda Partners and Women for Women. Learning about the story of Rwanda, motivated me to get involved in ending genocide and specifically as a Darfur community activist leader with Save Darfur and Genocide Intervention which includes Stand Now.

I sponsor a Rwandan sister each year through Women for Women. This means I give $27 monthly to her and we exchange letters and pictures. It usually takes 3 months for the letters to get back and forth with the original letter and a translation. Last week, I received a letter (which was written November 21, 2008) from Odette, my sister, which reads:

To my beloved sponsor,

To my parent that I love and wish (you) to be with God's peace.

Sandra, are you fine? We are also fine. I was happy after seeing your (emotional) support. The love you loved me without knowing me - caused me to love you this kind of love that has no end. Now I wish to see your face.

I am also a mother of four children, three girls and one boy. I am a farmer. Now I do Cassova, g-nuts, soghum, potatoes. I am preparing for Christmas, so greet for me your family and tell them we wish them Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank You.

The one who loves you,

Odette

These words touched me tenderly and are most precious to me.

Odette, has no education, cannot read or write. And her house has no electricity and the main source of lighting is by kerosene lamp. There is no water in the house. And the reason two of her four children do not go to school is lack of funds. Whenever I feel sorry for myself, I think of Odette. And it puts my life in perspective. Many of the young women of Rwanda are raising orphans. Remember many people were killed during the 1994 100 day genocide.

Within days, I received another letter. For some reason, it was delayed in its coming as it was a letter written by my sister from last year, Immaculee, which was originally written July 25, 2008 to me:

Dear Sponsor,

How are you? Let me hope that you are fine. I am also fine and doing well with all my family members and they all send you their best regards.

I have purposely written to you to say good-bye. I thank you for the support you have given me for a year, now. My wish has always been to see you, though it has not been possible. But I hope one day we shall meet. Through, your support, I have been able to build myself a house.

Did you receive my photo? I, who with my son, my mum and my neighbor. I request you to one day come and visit Rwanda. Maybe, we could meet. If you love to still write to me, I have sent my address to you. Send my regards to all your family members.

God bless you.

Immaculee

In 2005, I received a letter from my first sponsored sister, another Odette. And would like to include it here as well:

To my dear sponsor, Sandra. What is your news? Mine is fine and we are praising God.

I and my children, the orphans that I bring up, and my real mother referred to as mother number one and you being mother number two. I can't easily explain this unless God helped us to meet face to face.

Let me first say sorry, please forgive me, bear with me. I will send my photograph to you next time.

You required to know how I joined Women for Women International Rwanda. We were in a group of women with variable problems of being widows, and victims of H.I.V. AIDS. We had been grouped together by the Vice-Mayor of the locality. Personally, I have been a victim of H.I.V. AIDS for three years, and yet a widow. Then we were made to join the very organization.

Among my needs, I desire to see you face to face. I do request for your prayers, as it's very hard to bring up the children.

I was born in 1976. I am the first born, my father died and my mother is still alive and present with me. Please try to write to me frequently for it does good to me.

Thanks.

Odette

My other sister from Rwanda was Patricie. And I sponsored a sister from Iraq, Mariam, however for security reasons we were not allowed to exchange letters.

WomenForWomen.org
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Rwanda is moving forward
Uploaded by AegisTrust February 18, 2009


I met Edwin and Edward Mutanguha from Kigali, Rwanda a year and a half ago. They are in their second year at Salve Regina University here in Newport, Rhode Island. Both were keynote speakers at Rhode Island's Torch Relay Ceremony in 2007. Their mother, Odette Mukazi Mutanguha, who is pictured here with them, was a guest speaker at the Pell Center in Newport, RI, September 17, 2008. Her presentation was:
"Build a Better Africa: Working for Women, Human Rights, Education and Peace"


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Call President Obama at 202-456-1111
or 1-800-GENOCIDE
and pressure him to immediately take steps
to ensure the protection of civilians in Darfur!

An example of your phone call text can be found below.
It is encouraged that you make it personally your message. *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And call the USA Secretary of State


The USA State Department public comment line works 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Please, call as soon as possible.

Call the State Department's public comment line 24/7 at 202-647-6575


The White House (9 AM - 5 PM EST weekdays) at 202-456-1111


or 1-800-GENOCIDE with a similar message as the one below.


If you have called already, please call again:

* I'm calling to ask President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and Ambassador Rice to protect innocent civilians in Darfur in the wake of Bashir's arrest warrant. Please issue immediate warnings to Bashir and the government of Sudan specifying consequences of attacks on civilians. Please also prepare an emergency response plan to address further violence and appoint a full-time senior level envoy. Lastly, please stand firm in support of the ICC indictment and veto any delay in the prosecution of Bashir.

Call your Senators and Representative Today!

Find your elected politicians contact information at this link:

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Genocide Ends

When Enough of Us

Stand Up Against It

JOIN US
1-800-GENOCIDE
www.savedarfur.org
www.genocideintervention.net

www.standnow.org

www.miafarrow.org


Write President Obama
www.whitehouse.gov
You can also call or write to the President:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Comments to President Obama: 202-456-1111

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IF NOT,

THEN,

YOUR SILENCE

CONTRIBUTES

TO

ANOTHER

GENOCIDE.

www.savedarfur.org/content

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