When U.S. staff member Wendy walked in the door to Noella’s house in October, memories flooded her mind. She recalled sweaty days of shuttling bricks, organizing supplies, and coordinating dozens of volunteers earlier this summer to help construct this new home. With joy, Wendy remembered the day she led Noella down the path to show her the newly completed, fully furnished home. Even though Noella worked diligently for weeks alongside those building her new home, when she saw the finished product for the first time, she fell to her knees and lifted her arms toward Heaven, uttering prayers of thanksgiving!
Noella has done her best as a single mother. When we first met her, Noella’s sons Shalom and Theoneste were living with their grandmother hours away in the Southern Province.
Noella’s daughter Umutoniwase was a student at Hope Haven, but Noella was unable to care for her older boys because she didn’t have a home. After having another son, she found herself in an increasingly desperate situation. In early 2022, she was staying temporarily in a friend’s mud home. While grateful for a place to live, the home was an unhealthy environment. When a team visited to follow-up on the home’s water filter, they were saddened to see that rats had eaten the plastic tubing, rendering the entire system inoperable.
When Noella settled into her new home, she longed for a fresh start to go along with her fresh furniture. Weeks ago, she elatedly told Wendy the best news of all: “My two other sons have been able to return home!” Today, they study alongside their sister at Hope Haven. During construction on Hope Haven’s new secondary campus, Noella worked as a laborer, earning and borrowing enough to buy a small plot of land, where her home now stands. As our construction winds down, work is hard to find. Although she works three half-day shifts at Hope Haven to pay school fees for her three children, she relies on odd jobs in the village, like washing clothes or cleaning, to purchase food.
Noella still struggles to make ends meet, but her new home has provided a fresh start for this dear family. Now they have safe shelter, and instead of shifting from one borrowed room to another, or scraping for rent payments, Noella can focus on earning money for basic provisions for her family of five.
Most significantly, Noella knows her work at Hope Haven ensures her kids have a solid education that will change the dynamics for her family—eventually breaking the generational chains of poverty. Her prayer today is that she will find steady employment to provide food, health insurance and clothing for her kids.
Our staff and volunteers experienced Noella’s bright smile, determined spirit and gratitude. Without Hope Haven, this mother would not only have missed this opportunity for a fresh start in her new home, but Noella would have had little hope of a secure life with all her children under one roof. We will continue to work hard as an organization to provide fresh starts for as many of these families as we can—and we are grateful for your help!
Watch a short video of Noella’s first look at her new home.