Each year, we celebrate clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing Thurman Award winners. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, the Thurman Award celebrates clients who have not only experienced change in their own lives but have also extended that transformation to others in their community. We’re excited to share the story of this year’s winner: Beatrice Bamurange.
“I have a calling to serve the hopeless in Rwanda,” shares Beatrice Bamurange, “but did not know where.” Like many Christ-followers, Beatrice wasn’t sure how to best obey the Bible’s commands to serve those living in poverty. When her pastor invited her to join him on a visit to Rusheshe, a rural village an hour’s drive from Kigali, Beatrice realized there wasn’t a single school to serve the community’s children.
Overwhelmed by the need, Beatrice initially decided that starting a school was too big a task. But she was convicted when she heard a sermon about the uncomfortable places often being the very places God is calling us to serve. “The school location came to mind once again,” Beatrice shares, and she began praying for the village’s children. She started a school in just two rooms in someone’s home, and she then took out a loan from Urwego, HOPE’s local partner, to build three classrooms. She used two subsequent loans to add on classrooms and bathroom facilities.
As she served the children, Beatrice realized their parents also needed a way to earn a living. She now offers vocational training and has helped over 150 women in the community learn to sew. “Something else that I hope for,” she shares, “another dream that I have, is not necessarily to see someone get bread, but it’s to teach them how to get bread for themselves.”
In responding to God’s call, Beatrice has inspired others to do so as well. Three of her friends have since started schools in other communities that didn’t previously have access to education. Her dream is to continue expanding her school to invest in the next generation of Rusheshe’s leaders, parents, teachers, and pastors.