how it all began: Evode's Story
Evode Usabyamahoro grew up in Rwanda as a street child himself. In 2003, he started an initiative to help as many street kids as possible by befriending and assisting young people on the street. Evode himself didn't have much, except for his massive heart. He was a preacher and would set out across Rwanda sharing his message. Typically, these churches would pay for his transportation, but instead of using that for himself, Evode would walk to work so he could use the money that was meant for transportation, on the kids. There were times when he didn't have money, but would still gather the children together so that everyone could eat as a family. Through these ways and so many more, Evode gained the respect and love of the kids. Even to the point where they regarded him as their father. Through generating enthusiasm and relationships with local churches, organizations and schools, he provided volunteers, school fees, food and clothing for the kids he assisted. His work resulted in many children returning home, getting an education for the first time and being adopted into families. Despite this good work, most of the the children returned back to the street and the vicious cycle of life continued. Evode realized that the only way to prevent them from returning to the streets was to provide them shelter. Unfortunately, there were not any facilities to house the children, at least not until he met his future wife, Rebecca, in 2008.
creating a home: Rebecca's Story
Rwanda has been on Becky’s heart since she learned about the genocide and the resulting poverty. The more she learned the more her heart broke for this country. In June 2008, Becky independently set out to Kigali curious to see how Rwanda was recovering and healing itself from such devastating tragedy. Here, she met Evode. Rebecca fell in love with Evode and the children, and they fell in love with her. With the help of donations from friends and family in England, they were able to rent a house for them. In October 2010, Becky moved to Rwanda permanently to help Evode run the center. Together they live with over thirty boys in Kigali, Rwanda. They now live in a home, have a bed to sleep on, 3 meals a day, schooling, medical treatment and most of all; the love of a family. Thanks Becky and Evode’s efforts, these kids are surrounded by people who care about and believe in them, many of them for the first time in their lives. In order to maintain the center, Ubaka U Rwanda was set up as a charity in England to help raise awareness and urgently needed funds.
Bringing Ubaka to the US: shaun's story
Shaun (Sully) first visited Ubaka U Rwanda’s center in 2010. He was looking to volunteer at an orphanage in between teaching English courses in Kigali. A fellow volunteer brought him to meet Evode and the kids. They immediately connected and Shaun's relationship with Ubaka U Rwanda was born. After 3 months in Rwanda, Shaun went back to the U.S. and solidified his job as a seasonal wild land firefighter with the Arroyo Grande Hotshots in California. The seasonal work allowed him to visit the kids and the center every year, for a few months at a time. Shaun felt that he would not be able to live with himself if the kids, who changed his life, ever had to go back to the streets. With the desire to make a larger impact, Shaun focused his efforts on finding sponsors for the children and created Run the 1 (Ubaka U Rwanda's primary annual fundraiser) to help support the kids. Shaun went on to found the U.S. branch of Ubaka U Rwanda.