Christians from around the world on Friday began the first day of a 100-day effort to replace the painful memories of the Rwandan genocide with compassion, love, and renewed hope.
Humanitarian aid organizations, musicians, and Christian leaders will combine their efforts in support of the Hope Rwanda project beginning from Apr. 7 – the day that marks the 12th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide that killed nearly one million people – to July 15, matching the exact 100 days of the genocide.
"Hope Rwanda is very much about working closely with Rwandan community leaders," said Mark Zschech. "We can’t do this without them."
Joining in the effort of global compassion for the Rwandan people are well known Christian leaders, musicians, and aid and humanitarian organizations. Among those participating are Joyce Meyer, Brian Houston, Darlene Zschech, Compassion, Samaritan’s Purse and Hillsong United.
The project was envisioned by Australian Gospel singer, songwriter and producer Darlene Zschech. Darlene and her husband Mark coordinated the effort with the goal of replacing the memories of violence and death with love and hope.
During the 100 days, some two million Rwandan children will receive children’s books while 70,000 Rwandan children will receive an early Christmas present from Samaritan’s Purse in July. Samaritan’s Purse is headed by Franklin Graham, the eldest son of the Rev. Billy Graham.
Meanwhile, Australia alone is sending over 250 people offering skills such as building, medicine, teaching and music. Out of the 250 people is a team of 35 that include surgeons, intensive care unit nurses, ward nurses, anesthetists, a cardiologist, a pathologist, a biomedical engineer and a lab technician, which will depart for Rwanda next Thursday. The team will perform open heart surgeries and will operate out of King Faisal Hospital in the capital city of Kigali, Rwanda.
Classroom resource kits, in addition, will be provided through a group of 25 teachers from the United States and Australia who will be handing out 550 kits to Rwandan teachers from Apr. 11. The team will also speak to every teacher in Kigali who will attend a government sanctioned teachers seminar in April.
Elsewhere, a village and a geranium farm for orphans and widows will be built by a volunteer team of 50 Australian builders and tradesmen.
Meanwhile, ministry leader and New York Times best-selling author Joyce Meyer will conduct outreaches to Rwanda’s 16 prisons which house a total of 87,000 prisoners beginning on Apr. 22.
To help ensure that the compassion project will have a lasting effect on the country, billboards have been erected in the cities and radio advertisements are being broadcast in a national effort to urge Rwandas to embrace Hope Rwanda.
Darlene Zschech says that Hope Rwanda gives the western world an opportunity to help the Rwandan people rebuild their nation.
"We want to help restore this nation to its full potential and to transform the future of an entire generation with real and effective hope," she said.