Sunday, 22 September 2013

SPONSORSHIP SUNDAY: Meet Olivia Manirafasha!

Welcome to post number eleven of Sponsorship Sunday! Each Sunday, the Path of the Carpenter features one child in Rwanda who is being helped through Shelter Them, a non-profit licensed organization in both Canada and Rwanda. Sponsorship is just $40 Canadian ($38 U.S.) per month, and 100% of your money goes directly to your child. None is taken out for administrative or other purposes. Because many of our children are orphans or have been abandoned, we provide everything: food, clothing, housing, medical care, education, etc., for our children. For this reason, each child will require four sponsors. Our goal right now is for each child to have one sponsor by the end of this year.

Today I want to introduce you to a little girl who is very close to my heart. Olivia Manirafasha is seven years old, and her birthday is April 28. Olivia is our “poster-child” for Shelter Them; her picture appears on all of our child sponsorship packets and many of our posters, flyers, etc. Olivia is one of the most beautiful children you’ll ever see. Her smile absolutely lights up the world, and she never seems to stop smiling. She is the sister to Florence, whom you can read about HERE.

Olivia is also disabled. We believe she may have cerebral palsy. When Shelter Them’s mission team first visited her house, they found her scooting on her backside through the gutter, unable to walk. The photo above was taken outside of the hut that Olivia’s family called home. Olivia’s mother, father, and their three children were living in this tiny shack smaller than most modern bedrooms. Olivia’s father is an unskilled labourer, and her mother had to stay home and care for their disabled daughter.

The above picture shows the area that Olivia’s family used to live in. When the Shelter Them team visited, they were stunned at the sheer poverty this family lived in. The Team had given a wheelchair to Olivia’s family at a special presentation; they were overwhelmed to discover that Olivia couldn’t even use her wheelchair because of the narrow passageways between shacks and the dirty gutter running on all sides. This disturbing scene soon became a call to action: we had to get them out.

When the Shelter Them mission team returned to Canada, the call when out for supporters to donate the cost of a rental house for Olivia’s family, to get them out of the slums. Jules, one of the wonderful people who heads up the ministry in Rwanda, was able to find a beautiful house for “our” family. It’s not perfect, but it’s so much better that the life they had before.

Above, you see Olivia’s Christmas surprise. Our Shelter Them team was able to work on the new house without her family knowing about it, and just before Christmas, Jules, Bright, Mama Jo, and the rest of our team surprised Olivia’s family with a brand-new home.  She has her own bedroom now, and her two sisters share a room. Mama Olivia and her husband also have their own room.

And here’s our precious girl herself, thanking everyone who made this possible. She is a bundle of joy!

And the best news of all? About a month ago we found out that Olivia is now receiving medical treatment and for the first time, she is learning to walk.

Will you continue the cycle by making sure that Olivia and her family never have to go back to living in the slums? Your sponsorship will help provide for her family and pay her medical bills so she is able to continue receiving help. Disability can be a death sentence in Rwanda… but with your help, Olivia is now looking forward to a future as bright as her angelic smile.

If you’d like to sponsor Olivia Manirafasha, or if you would like to view the rest of our children available for sponsorship, you can visit us here: Shelter Them Child Sponsorship.

Feel free to share this page with your family and friends so we can find her a sponsor!

And don’t forget to visit the Path of the Carpenter on Facebook!

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