Isaiah 61: 4 ‘They will rebuild…’
For Rabagirana Ministries, Community Development was the result of people getting healed, finding hope for a prosperous tomorrow and seeking to rebuild their lives together and thus being a witness of a new found unity in their community. In the 1999, after a difficult but very successful workshop between families of perpetrators and victims, we were shocked during a follow up meeting to find that they decided to ‘stick together’ to help each other. They started to contribute a small amount, visit each other and conduct some activities such as rebuild and broken house of one of them, donating school fees for a child who could not, cultivating for one who was sick, sending clothes to a member whose husband was in prison. Later some groups decided to do small projects to help their community such as repair the community hall, or fixing a road towards the market. These stronger initiatives required our financial help. Later we conclude that poverty reduction or any community project is simply a tool around which former enemies becomes essential partners. The challenge becomes the new enemy.
Inspired by the community Rabagirana has now streamlined Community Development into 3 main sections:
- Training churches in the theology of integral mission and encourage them to be catalyst of holistic development:
RM conduct 2 Day training of senior leaders and 5 Day for middle and lower leaders who are in touch with people on a daily basis. We have developed a resource called ‘Nail Soup’ which is a compilation of topics that helps leaders to be missional and integral. The aim is to help participants embrace the Biblical basis and principles for holistic transformation. We have borrowed from Micah global excellent teachings about integral mission. From Renee Schudel and Le Rucher, we received a lot of material on Worldviews and the Kingdom of God. From resources developed different field practitioners and our own field experiences, we developed additional teachings to equip leaders for community change. Pastor Leonidas who has ‘left tailoring to serve God’ has gone back to raise income and teach his members using his old sewing!
2. Vocational skills (TVET)
After conducting many short training that resulted in strong cooperatives such as Soap making group, tie and die, Make and sell crafts, we realized that due to wounds and trauma, many people have missed opportunities to learn and develop marketable skills. Rabagirana has now a formal vocational school that has helped 500 join the job markets. Our main areas of training have been carpentry, driving, hair dressing and hotel operations. We have recently received government accreditation in 2 fields.
3. Support to community initiatives
Some of our trainees have automatically formed cooperatives. RM has contributed financially to boost their capital, thus growing their business. We respond to church or government initiatives tacking pertinent issues. So far we have conducted or co-facilitated campaigns to reduce school dropout, reduce drugs abuse, eradicate domestic violence. With Covid we contribute to relief effort and educate the community to respond to the Pandemic