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 MurekeziPlanting A New Beginning, at 82.

 Murekezi Simeon finds new hope later in life. 

When militia warfare reached their village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Murekezi Simeon and his wife had no choice but to flee their home. Murekezi made it to safety, but his wife was killed along the way.  He arrived at ARC’s camp at Gihembe in Rwanda, traumatized and dejected.  Murekezi had lost nearly everything on his journey to safety.  And he came to Gihembe camp without any way of supporting himself. 

At Gihembe Camp

“I became sickly, because I was inactive.  I had no way of buying myself clothing or covering my needs each day.”  Murekezi, 82, was a farmer all his life.  But as a refugee, he had no money and no way of buying the seeds or tools he needed to start farming again.  For the first time in his adult life, he had nothing to do. 

A New Beginning at 82

Then, last year, Murekezi and a group of other older men joined ARC’s skills training and small grants program.  With $50 in seed money, they began farming again.  And thanks to your support, they learned the skills that are helping their small business thrive.  Today, Murekezi and his group are growing vegetable and tree seedlings.  Other members of the program have learned to weave bags, make soap and body lotion, repair shoes and grow mushrooms. 

A year ago, these people were struggling to survive. Today, they’re selling their wares at local markets and providing for their families.  Murekezi’s tree seedlings are making a small difference to combat dangerous deforestation throughout Rwanda, and he’s proud to be supporting himself again.


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