Needs Reading: Local group of volunteers are planning trip to Rwanda

By Kirstan Knowlton

BERLIN — A group of local volunteers are dedicating time and resources to help support people and families in Rwanda, a small country in southern Africa. Efforts are underway to raise funds for the trip, which is scheduled for the end of the month.

Sue McGinnes, a neuroscientist with the Neurological Development Institute of New Hampshire, which has offices in Berlin, and a church member of the Harvest Christian Fellowship, coordinated the trip to Rwanda with Sarah Barnes Papamichel, the company’s business development specialist.

The institute plays an important role with in the community and will be opening a new mental health facility in the Dream Center, which offers health care to local residents.

During their time in Rwanda, volunteers will be conducting Hope Visits, which consist of bringing necessity items to the family, spending time with them and praying.

Group members from Berlin traveling to Rwanda to take part in the experience include Pastors Robert and Wendy Haynes of the Harvest Christian Fellowship, Peter and Sue McGinnes with The Neurodevelopmental Institute of NH, Julie Vitko and her grandson Jamison Vitko who at the age of 12 is the youngest member going.

Five other group members will be traveling with them from southern New Hampshire and Maine.

Volunteers from the group began raising money for this trip over the summer and found creative solutions to get others involved like hosting paint nights and offering a photo shoot.

The money raised will cover all the expenses for their flight and housing, and the rest will go towards helping as many families as possible. The group hopes to provide financial support for meals, medical and educational expenses.

To feed an average size family in Rwanda is roughly $50 a month. To sponsor a child to be in school is $39 a month, and monthly insurance for a child is $5.

Each person travelling to Rwanda will also have an extra suitcase with them full of donated items such as hygiene products and diapers.

The group is still looking to raise money for the trip and still needs close to $2,300. They will be selling starter bricks through Friday, Jan. 20. Bricks are on sale for $2 each or four for $5.

A GoFundMe page has also been created as a way for people to make donations. The fundraising page can be found by searching Rwanda Missions Trip in the Berlin, NH area.

Harvest Christian Fellowship is located at 219 Willow Street in Berlin. For more information about the trip or to make a donation call (603) 752-5374. You can also visit their website and find them on Facebook.

Rwanda 2Volunteers visited Rwanda in August of 2015. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Rwanda 1Children of Rwanda. (COURTESY PHOTO)