CBM partners with the Association of Baptist Churches of Rwanda (AEBR) to help restore and renew a country that suffers from high levels of poverty and the legacy of the 1994 Genocide.

Effective leadership is needed to bring a hurting community together and provide relevant programming. We seek to equip and empower pastors in local communities who can encourage and bring ministry to life, embracing a broken community through word and deed. One important way we do this is to relieve some of the burden of poverty in pastors’ own families.

The AEBR has 189 churches and approximately 300 chapels across the country, but over 80% of its local church leaders face a huge challenge. They continue to live in extreme poverty and earn less than $1 per day. They are barely able to provide food for their families, let alone send their children to school. In spite of their poverty, many have taken in orphans.

Jeannette’s father is the pastor of a poor chapel (a small church plant) in Kigali. The family struggles to survive by farming – difficult to do in an area where land is scarce. And she, like so many other pastors’ children in Rwanda, worries about having to drop out of school due to lack of funds. Some pastors’ children say that they even feel humiliated as other students make fun of them, asking why the family serves God if they still have school fee problems. Jeanette was very relieved when she received support from CBM’s Pastors’ Children’s Scholarship. She is happy to be able to continue her secondary school studies and hopes to become a nurse.

While much progress has been made, Rwanda remains one of the world’s poorest countries, ranked 167 out of 187 countries (2013 UN Human Development Index). Education and vocational skills training is crucial to lift families out of extreme poverty.

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How the Project Works

The pastor is a role model in the community. The suffering of his family affects the witness of the church as a transforming agent when the local community observes that the pastor cannot adequately provide for his family. In response, CBM started livelihood training among pastors to help them grow food, keep livestock and start income-generating activities. They also share their learning with the community, but more support is needed for those most vulnerable, including the families of pastors who have passed away.

CBM has also created a compassionate fund — Pastors’ Children’s Scholarships — to help 80 of the most needy youth finish secondary school or vocational skills training. It is one simple yet powerful way to respond with God’s love to help children in great need.