Iriba Shalom USA
Reconciliation and Restoration in Rwanda
We also appreciate your prayers.
In April 1994, the fastest genocide in human history occurred in Rwanda, with more than a million Tutsi people killed by another group in just 100 days. At least 250,000 women were victims of rape.
Many were infected with HIV (AIDS) or still suffer from illnesses and disabilities as a result of the genocide. Many people also suffer from the psychological consequences. The atrocities were severe as people watched their family members being murdered, including their own children.
Even though the population groups in Rwanda have forgiven each other and Rwanda is now one of the safest countries in Africa, many people are still suffering from the consequences of the genocide: wives lost their husbands, mothers lost their sons, and children lost their fathers. Many are traumatized. Rwanda is also a poor country in which many families often lack healthy food and clean water. Children often grow up without opportunities because many parents cannot pay school fees and therefore do not receive adequate schooling.
Iriba Shalom International e.V was founded by genocide survivor Denise Uwimana-Reinhardt in 2015. Denise leads Iriba Shalom International e.V. within Germany and our branch in the US, Iriba Shalom USA, is led by project director Bill Shook.
We are a Christian organization with a mission to help those suffering from trauma and seek forgiveness and reconciliation through the love of Jesus.
We stand up for the survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and for the young, new generation in Rwanda, through partnership with local ministries. We are determined to improve their quality of life and rise above poverty through self-help projects.
How You Can Help
Sponsorships in Rwanda
Many children and young people in Rwanda grow up in very poor conditions. If families do not have enough money for school fees, children are at risk of perpetuating the cycle of poverty without an education.
You can change the life of a child and their family with your child sponsorship! Through your commitment, the school fees for your sponsored child will be paid and the needs of the child and family will also be addressed individually. Additionally, our programs are designed to teach children Christian values.
Sponsoring a child also creates a very special relationship between you and your sponsored child. You can find out more about the child's life, his country and exchange ideas through letters or even a visit.
$40/month for a child in elementary school
$70/month for a child in middle school/high school
During the genocide, countless women lost their husbands. Many women are still suffering from the traumatizing consequences today.
In Iriba Shalom Rwanda at Mukoma women were forced to hand their children, especially the baby boys over to their murderous neighbors, and some even had to watch as their children and their husbands were killed. In addition to the murder of your loved ones, in many cases, there was also the desecration and injury to their own body and soul.
Many people were never able to process these experiences. In addition, many lost their livelihoods and continue to live in great poverty.
Our partners support the women by offering discussions, prayer meetings, and help in everyday life. A sponsorship enables widows to have a secure income to cover their basic monthly needs for food, clothing, and to start small businesses.
In Rwanda, seniors over 60 are one of the groups most in need of help. There isn't a safety net or social security program from which they receive support, so they often have to fight for their survival.
Many are so weakened by age or the abuse they suffered during the genocide that they can no longer support themselves. Unfortunately, most lost their family members as a result of the genocide, with few left to care for the old and weak.
Here we offer:
- Healthy food and medical care
- Christian trauma counseling
- Psychosocial individual counseling
- Group discussions for self-help
- Seminars on practical life management
$50/month sponsors a senior
Projects in Rwanda
Christian Trauma Counseling
Trauma is still a current issue in Rwandan society. In Mukoma you find widows whose children were beheaded in front of their eyes and whose husbands were burned. Many widows and young women are suffering from HIV/AIDs because they were raped during the genocide. Not every trauma is physical and visible. Many of our women suffer from headaches, sleep disorders, nightmares, etc.
Our partners Iriba Shalom Rwanda and Shalom Ministries in Kigali help those affected with a community-based approach. They offer healing in individual and group conversations, expressing deep wounds of the soul and offering encouragement. They read the Bible, pray, cry, and dance together. The weak are supported by the strong in the community. They meet in small groups in fields to chop the ground and plant beans, cassava, peas, peanuts, and plantains.
In the villages and cities, many people still cannot afford a permanent roof over their heads. Traumatized widows and orphans are particularly affected by this. The lack of a family not only causes emotional damage but also means that there are no financial reserves and only one person earning an income.
To help these families and single widows, our organization has made it our mission to help those in need build or repair their homes.
A secure home built with strong, stable materials in contrast to a typical mud home provides sustainability, security, and dignity.
Our goal for 2024 is to build 16 houses.
$11,500 provides a sustainable house
A cow, goat, or sheep is a sign of friendship in Rwandan culture. The cow adds value to society, fights poverty, ensures health, and is a sought-after dowry. It plays a big role in inner healing since the Tutsi cows were slaughtered in the genocide. It can also contribute to forgiveness and reconciliation when a cow's calf is given by one woman to another woman from the other (formerly hostile) population group.
Raising and breeding pigs is another source of income.
A farm animal is the perfect donation to share with friends or relatives, allowing you to give a useful and long-lasting gift to those in need.
$650 provides a cow
$65 provides a sheep or goat
Health insurance costs $5 per person per year. This may not sound like a lot, but for those living in poverty, families with multiple children often lack enough money “for everyone”.
For a small amount, we can provide health insurance that will treat illnesses for an entire year. That's why we try to buy as many health insurance policies as possible for families in need every year, providing a lot of security for a small donation.
$50 covers a year of health insurance for 10 people
We support various projects to enable the people in Rwanda to have stable livelihoods, thus helping people help themselves. Donations help get these businesses started and help women find their way out of poverty. Successful start-ups have included sewing, basket making, soap making, starting a restaurant, and opening a stand at the market.
One example is two sisters, Virginie and Chantal, orphans of the genocide. They lived in poverty and often had nothing to eat for days. With donated start-up funds, they have opened a small restaurant selling milk and mandazi (African donuts) and are now able to care for themselves.
We are in the process of building an assisted living center for seniors.
Many of the seniors in the Iriba Shalom Rwanda community in the southwest of the country are now so old that they can no longer care for themselves. We wish for them not to die in grief but instead offer them love and a new dignity which was lost during the genocide.
They can no longer make a living from agriculture, can no longer repair their huts, and may be bedridden. Round-the-clock care from the younger members of the community is not possible. They often have to walk long distances of several kilometers every day to get to the remote places where the seniors live.
Thanks to a generous donation, land could be purchased on the slopes near the existing multi-functional center which has a beautiful view of Lake Kivu. Further donations will be needed for the interior work and furnishings.
$21,500 provides interior finishing work
$3,600 provides annual care for one senior
Your donation will provide opportunities and hope for those suffering the consequences of genocide.
*To direct your donation to a specific project or sponsorship, write the project name in the box next to your online donation amount or in the memo of your check.
Books by Denise Uwimana-Reinhardt
The latest book “From Red Earth” was published in 2019.
In the space of a hundred days, a million Tutsi in Rwanda were slaughtered by their Hutu neighbors. At the height of the genocide, as men with bloody machetes ransacked her home, Denise Uwimana gave birth to her third son. With the unlikely help of Hutu Good Samaritans, she and her children survived. Her husband and other family members were not as lucky.
If this were just a memoir of those chilling days and the long, hard road to personal healing and freedom from her past, it would be remarkable enough. But Uwimana didn't stop there. Leaving a secure job in business, she devoted the rest of her life to restoring her country by empowering other genocide widows to band together, tell their stories, find healing, and rebuild their lives. The stories she has uncovered through her work and recounted here illustrate the complex and unfinished work of truth-telling, recovery, and reconciliation that may be Rwanda's lasting legacy. Rising above their nation's past, Rwanda's genocide survivors are teaching the world the secret to healing the wound of war and ethnic conflict.
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Iriba Shalom International Full Website:
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Global Horizons Inc. is the fiscal sponsor for Iriba Shalom USA. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.