So, I am really sad I didn’t get an “anybody” story
up last week but it set me up perfectly to get to introduce you to two of my favorite Rwandan gals
😉 Honestly when I started this series I didn’t want to start with one of my Africa friends stories because I didn’t want you to get the impression that you had to move to Africa to change the world. because that is certainly not true! [as you’ve seen the past 7 weeks!] BUT there are some pretty amazing people changing the world that may have done just that…gone and moved to Africa. Alison
are the gals behind No 41
that you always hear me talking about! Today you will get to hear from my sweet friend Tara who founded the company and then tomorrow it’s my africa alison’s turn!! [no really I have a post about it. you just read it.
So everybody give a big warm welcome to TARA
Anybody can change the world: I’m just willing.
Hey there, I’m Tara and I have this motto when you give God all you have, that’s all He needs. I hold that very close to my heart, mostly because I don’t feel like a world changer but, when I look around, I see a lot of work to be done.
After a 2-week mission trip with Visiting Orphans
in December 2010, I followed my little broken heart back to Rwanda, begging God to use me in any way He saw fit. I didn’t have a plan, but I trusted that He did. He did.
In June 2011, I moved into the Noel Orphanage, home to 500+ children ranging in age from a few weeks to their late 20’s. While I got my feet on the ground, I loved on babies, played countless games of soccer, and taught English. By December of that year, I had a list and a plan. God also had some plans I couldn’t see yet, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
I wanted to start a project for the older girls at the orphanage. There are, roughly, 100 young adults over the age of 18 living at Noel; with no family and limited resources, the prospect of university or becoming gainfully employed is low. Along with that, confidence is low, dreams are small, and hope is almost non-existent. It was important to me, not only to provide a means of sustainable employment doing a culturally relevant trade for these girls, but also to remind them that they were created by a great God, for an even greater purpose. We all have been given gifts and talents and once realized we should spend those helping others. So, feeding program.
In our village there are three secondary schools, grades 7-12, and these students go to school all day, many without eating. The schools, generally, offer a 20-minute break for lunch where children who live close enough or have money, may go home to go to the market to eat. Most do not.
started in March 2012 with 16 girls from Noel. The girls would be sewing bags and selling them, earning a living for themselves, and providing a feeding program at local schools. FOR ONE child. FOR ONE meal. FOR ONE year. For just $75, a young woman earns a sustainable income and a child receives a hot, healthy lunch everyday at school. By the end of April, No.41 employed 32 girls and had a fairly substantial waiting list and in May, Alison
, from Texas, joined our team.
And we’re back to the behind-the-scenes work I was talking about. In December 2011, as I was just about to give God everything I had (again), Alison was doing the same. She (and sweet Wynne) came on a Visiting Orphans team to visit Noel. I was still living there and just planning what No.41 might look like. My first ever blog post announcing the project got a comment from Alison, that she wanted to ‘help however I can’. Shortly after, I got an email from her telling me that she had read my entire blog in a day (I liked her instantly) and that she was really praying over and processing what God had showed her on the trip. The crazy thing about our God is that I had been praying over who might come and take my place once No.41 got up an running, as I was planning on leaving the following June. I remember such a peace about Alison’s email and I think my reply went something like this, Hey girl, that’s awesome. I have no idea what I’m doing with my life, but it’s pretty fun, and I feel like I’m supposed to ask you to come along. Alison didn’t come to Rwanda to work at No.41, but…..
I’ll stop here and let Alison
continue with her story tomorrow.
Before I go, my challenge to you:
Be brave. Be bold. The fact of the matter is, if your are a Christian you are not “just a” anything; just a mom, just a bank teller, just a student… You are special. Called.Enough. All that has transpired at No.41 is beyond my wildest dreams. We have had seven girls move themselves out of the orphanage and into their own home, we have 17 enrolled in university and we are feeding 870 students everyday! I never thought this wouldn’t happen, (it was beyond me from the beginning) but I never imagined it would happen like this. No.41 is a testament to all that God wants to do in you and through you, if you’ll just say, yes.
When you give God all you have, that’s all He needs. Go change the world!
you can contact Tara:
No. 41 Site: http://no41.org/
No. 41 facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Number4one
PS – if you haven’t read the AMAZING things they are doing with No 41 beyond making fabulous bags + all they do with the girls….read about their feeding program here!!