by Laura Stahnke
This year, one of our donations will go to a refugee couple and their two children from Rwanda who are planning to emigrate to Canada. For their safety, we will name them “Jean Paul” and “Anne.” Jean Paul first met American and Burundian Unitarian Universalists in 2008. While he was studying to become a minister he met Fulgence, a UU minister known to many of us, and decided to become a UU minister himself because our values of justice for all, freedom, peace, and the worth and dignity of every human being were his values, too. He set up an NGO and a UU church in Rwanda. After Jean Paul had been kidnapped and tortured twice and refused exit from his country to attend a UU conference, he and Anne decided they would never be safe in their country and had to flee. They are living outside of Rwanda now with their two children.
This couple has participated in the EUU-At-Large-Virtual Fellowship, and “Anne” has participated in the International Women’s Convocation (IWC) online meetings several times.
Her steady optimism and good will as she cares for her two children and deals with their precarious living situation have been inspirational. The ICUU put in a request to the Canadian Council of Churches to welcome the family into their community. The Universalist Unitarian church in Halifax, Nova Scotia, responded with a yes, and a small group of volunteers there have launched a campaign to raise 36,000 Canadian dollars to finance their relocation, housing, medical care, and education.
As of now over 21,000 Canadian dollars have been raised by individuals from the IWCUU, Canadian and American UU fellowships, and now the EUU. We invite you to go to the GoFundMe charity to make a donation to help this family emigrate to Canada