True Vineyard Ministries has had an astonishing year as we continued answering the call of the Bible to serve widows and abandoned women in Northern Rwanda. God’s healing is evidenced in their relationships with one another, their children and with Jesus Christ.
The 44 women who currently work for True Vineyard Ministries create Handspun Hope, high-quality yarn and products crafted from the wool of our own flock of Merino sheep. The products are then marketed in the U.S. to socially-responsible business partners. The women are paid an above fair-wage salary and are provided with healthcare and school fees for the children under their care. This year, True Vineyard has assisted in the education of 96 children, by providing tuition, uniforms and materials. Additionally, the women are offered individual counseling due to each having varied degrees of loss and suffering from extreme poverty and ethnic-based violence.
In 2015 we implemented a microfinance program to encourage the women to dream big and plan for long-term financial freedom. Our hope is that the ministry can become a springboard for launching qualified women into their own businesses, while bringing other women into the fold of transformational employment. For many of our ladies who still suffer from Post Traumatic Stress due to genocide, HIV and debilitating poverty, this concept has sometimes been difficult to grasp. However, through these loans, entrepreneurial leadership is being cultivated among the first courageous borrowers.
Daphrose, a single mother employed by True Vineyard, dreamed of owning her own cow and selling milk. In March she applied for a microfinance loan to purchase her first cow and began selling milk to her neighbors. Her motivation to be successful has led her to grow her business to assist in providing milk to a local school.
Thanks to the funds Jacqueline borrowed from the microfinance program, she bought a piece of land where she is growing potatoes and beans that she can sell. With her profits she has been able to repair the roof of her house and purchase beds for her four children.
During 2015 we saw tremendous progress on our new workspace, Gihunga Center, in Rwanda. Construction has continued during the dry seasons as finances have permitted. In approximately 60 days, construction will be completed and the ladies can finally relocate to their new workspace. The beautiful new center, complete with gazebos and wool-washing stations, will provide closer proximity to most of the ladies’ homes, allowing for more quality time with their children. Ample space will also allow us to begin hiring more impoverished women in need of steady employment.
One of the greatest ways we saw God advancing our ministry in 2015 was stateside with the relocation of Vineyard Marketplace, our fair-trade African boutique. Moving into a high-traffic area allowed us to significantly increase the financial impact to our artisan partners across Africa, comprised mostly of widows and single mothers. Through Vineyard Marketplace, we are financially supporting thousands of artisans though the purchase of ethically-sourced products. Paying fair prices allow these artisans to feed their families, and in most cases, educate their children.
God has done incredible things through True Vineyard Ministries throughout 2015. I’ve witnessed lives transformed, hearts healed and promising futures created for Rwandan mothers and their children. These critical accomplishments absolutely could not be done without financially compassionate partners.
As we prepare to move into our new building and increase the number of widows and abandoned women we employ, please prayerfully consider partnering with us in 2016 through a monthly widow sponsorship or year-end gift. Hope is on the rise in Rwanda but we deeply desire to see more lives transformed. The hope you give when you partner with us will support innovation, unification, healing, education and health. Please join us by being a Hope Giver to even more women in 2016.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire True Vineyard Ministries team I wish you a very Merry Christmas. May it truly be a season of hope and peace.