In 2020 we set out to raise funding to help us build the second story of our counseling building. At the beginning of COVID, we quickly switched gears to meet the immediate needs that arose, mainly providing salaries for our staff. But now, as we get back on our feet again, we are more ready than ever to continue with our plans to complete the build!
We began the year with a goal to raise $16,000 to complete the second level of the counseling center. And while we raised a portion of the funds needed through the Heading for Hope Virtual 5k, we’ve launched a new fundraiser for the month of April to help us meet our goal:
Building on Hope: The Finish Line Fundraiser for The Will Barnhill Counseling Center
We’re on a mission to raise the remaining $14,000 needed to build the second level of our counseling center.
And we need your help to get across the finish line.
Read on to learn more about our plans and how you can get involved!
The 1994 Rwandan Genocide Against the Tutsi
Over the course of a 100-day period, between April 6th and July 4th in 1994, an estimated 800,000 - 1,000,000 people were systematically slaughtered in the Genocide against the Tutsi. Conservatively, this equates to six people being murdered….every second…of every minute…of every day…for 100 days. It is an unimaginable figure.
Although 85% of Rwanda is made up of people from the Hutu tribe, the Tutsi minority has long been in control of the country. When a plane carrying then-president Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down, the Hutu, convinced this was the work of the Tutsi-led rebel group, organized militias with one focus: to kill every Tutsi and Tutsi sympathizer in Rwanda.
Killings began in the capital city, Kigali, but eventually spread across the country. No area was spared, no village safe. Tutsis would seek refuge in churches. The church doors would be locked from the outside and burned to the ground. Militias made up of HIV-positive men were sent out with express orders to infect as many Tutsi women as possible. Women were raped then forced to watch as their families were murdered. Afterward, the militia would often tell the women, “We are going to let you live so you may die of sadness.” It is estimated that as many as 500,000 women were raped during the genocide and, of those, 67% were infected with HIV.
To learn more about the Genocide against the Tutsi, click here.
Our Counseling Program
Twenty seven years after the Genocide against the Tutsi, the trauma of what happened in 1994 overwhelms many Rwandans. The trauma many have endured is an unimaginable burden to carry.
Trauma counseling has become an integral part of our holistic healing model. We offer daily group and individual counseling sessions and this program has been transformative for the women we employ. It has been so influential that, nine years ago, we decided to expand our program and created a lay counselor training program. This course is provided free of charge to any who wants to join. To date, 99 community leaders, doctors, pastors and teachers have graduated from the program with the tools they need to lead their own communities in the healing process.
To learn more about our counseling program and holistic care model, click here.
Why a counseling center?
The completion of this building will allow us to continue expanding our program so we may better serve our staff, and the surrounding community, with emotional and mental support services.
This building allows us to expand our program for both our staff and the community at large. Our goals for 2021 are:
hire three new full-time counselors,
graduate 12 new lay counselors,
and begin offering addiction counseling services for those struggling with substance abuse.
This building will be a place of continued healing and transformation for Handspun Hope employees, act as a place of refuge for members of the local community, and serve as a physical reminder of the hope we have in the Lord.
Will Barnhill: Leaving a Legacy of Hope
Back in 2018, before plans for the counseling center had even begun, we were brainstorming how to raise a very specific amount of money for the ministry. While on the way to a speak at a church and feeling anxious about raising the funds needed, we were praying and asking the Lord to provide.
The next morning at church, a couple in attendance presented us a check in the EXACT amount we had been praying for! It was an incredibly humbling, emotional, and joyful moment for us. We were floored that the Lord not only provided what we needed but that, in the process, we were also introduced to a wonderful family whose story left an imprint on our hearts.
They explained that their son, Will, had passed away two years prior. And before his passing, he expressed a strong desire to provide assistance to people in Africa experiencing hardship. He wanted to give a gift that would make a difference in the lives of whose who had known so much suffering. After hearing the Handspun Hope story, they knew that supporting such a cause is what he wanted them to do.
We are eternally grateful that the Lord brought us to this family and that, through them, we were able to learn about their son and his story. And as our relationship with them has grown, we know exactly how we want to honor Will.
Because of this family’s immense generosity, and in honor of their son and his caring heart, we are thrilled to announce the name of our new building:
The Will Barnhill Counseling Center.
So… how can YOU help?
We have big dreams for our counseling center and program but we need your help to make them happen.
We also have some VERY generous individuals who have agreed to match donations up to $7,000!
This means that when you give, your donation is D O U B L E D! (Yes, you read that right!)
$5 is $10. $100 is $200. $250 is $500!
AND, to say thank you for your generosity, anyone who makes a contribution of $30 or more will receive a Hello, Hope drawstring bag! We hope this gift will serve as a reminder fo part for our staff and the surrounding community we serve.
Every gift matters. Every amount makes a difference. When you give, you provide critical mental health services to people who have suffered the unimaginable. You create a space where stories will be rewritten and lives made new.
And, most importantly, you give hope.