A Home to Call Your Own

A Home to Call Your Own

My children were beggars in the streets...Now they attend school children attend school well and I can get corn and beans to feed them.

My children were beggars in the streets...Now they attend school children attend school well and I can get corn and beans to feed them.

Antoine, 43 years old and his wife Evelyne, 30, were born in the Batwa community of Murwi. They have 5 children. The Batwa ethnic group represents 1% of the national population. They are marginalized, rejected, and hated by other ethnic groups. Many have been forced out of their traditional lands, resulting in legal disputes and poor living conditions for families.

Throughout Antoine’s childhood, he lived in a hut with a straw roof and would see his parents working for others, toiling on land which they did not own – working for the land owner from morning to night. Although it paid a nominal wage, they had no stability or financial security.

Having grown up surrounded by struggles and pain, Antoine left his family and married Evelyne. They worked as labourers for a landowner.

Evelyne gave birth to 5 children in their small hut. The single room served as a bedroom for parents and their children, it was also a kitchen, and their chickens slept together with them. When it was the rainy season, the entire hut became wet. The children could not attend school due to extreme hunger. Instead, they had to beg in the streets of Murwi and markets to survive. Were Antoine’s children destined for the same life he’d experienced?

A mud hut damaged by weather with a collapsed roof and walls broken
Living in a mut hut like this leaves you vulnerable to theft and heavy weather damaging the house.

The team from Igniting Communities for Jesus (ICJ) met Antoine’s family in these conditions. They were in a dreadful state. Antoine’s children were showing the telltale signs of malnutrition, including their hair turning yellow. Antoine joined others in the community, praying together, and working in communal land with other Batwa friends.

ICJ purchased land for the family, and others in the community. They also provided chickens and goats, which assisted in fertilizing their land to become more productive. Another benefit was that, in turn, they could sell chicks and eggs. At the recent harvest, they had grown 178 kgs of corn, and 35 kgs of beans and are hoping for even more at the upcoming corn harvest.

Thanks in part to donations from GLO Supporters, ICJ were also able to build the family a proper house! Their new home has three rooms, a kitchen outside, and even a toilet. Their children no longer have to beg, instead, they attend school. ICJ provides school materials for them.

ICJ’s model is powerful because they invest in the people, Leader Bosco says, “We support them in a process of empowerment and self-management through the promotion of local activities such as agriculture and livestock, the improvement of living conditions (housing, health), as well as the schooling of children in order to get these communities out of the vicious circle of poverty. We also intervene in high schools and universities to promote discipleship and leadership based on biblical principles.”

By empowering members of the community like Antoine, they find fresh purpose and vision, transforming their prospects.

“What I cannot forget is what it feels like to be a slave in your own country, to work for others is very painful. My children were beggars in the streets, sometimes people beat them, which was very difficult… Hunger stopped my children from attending school but now I thank God because I have my own land, a nice house, goats, and chickens. Moreover, my children attend school well and I can get corn and beans to feed them.”

Antoine thanks God for bringing ICJ to their area. This family is just one in a whole community that is being transformed with support and encouragement from ICJ.

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