Follow Us


How Hope and Clean Water Transformed Lives in Rwanda

Share this Story

WRITTEN BY Cat Forsgren

Tongati, Rwanda, is nestled amidst picturesque mountains and flowing water, but the community living there struggled with a crucial issue: the water that surrounded them was infested with water-born illnesses. Athalie, a mother of three, struggled to provide clean water for her family, but her life was completely transformed when Food for the Hungry (FH) partnered with her community to build a pipeline to provide clean water. This story is an example of how meaningful gifts through FH bring hope and transform lives.

A Cycle of Deepening Poverty

For years, Athalie and her children trekked long distances to fetch water from contaminated sources. This water usually contained aquatic worms that led to frequent illnesses that disrupted daily life. “Life was difficult. My children and I would wake up at 5:00 a.m. and walk 2km to collect water, affecting their schooling and our overall well-being. The water we collected made us sick and we’d often have to travel to the Health Center.”

Deeper ramifications were impacting Tongati other than the daily chore of getting water. With the next generation’s education being continuously disrupted, Athalie’s family and others like hers were trapped in a cycle of deepening poverty.

A Chance for Change

Thanks to local partnerships Food for the Hungry has with community leaders, a water pipeline was installed in Tongati. This brought clean water within a three-minute walk from Athalie’s home.

Fresh water was brought to the doorstep of many families thanks to the water pipeline.
Fresh water was brought to the doorstep of many families thanks to the water pipeline.

Her family’s and her neighbors’ way of life was immediately transformed. They could now bathe and wash clothes, drink the water without becoming sick, and foster better hygiene practices, all while their children could be diligent in their school studies.

With FH’s presence in her community, Athalie also took advantage of classes on financial literacy. After learning how to manage her income effectively, she watched her savings multiply. Athalie can now afford essential household needs like food and clothing and even invest in health insurance.

The Gift of Clean Water

Athalie expressed heartfelt gratitude for FH partnering with her community, which highlights the transformative impact of FH supporters. Water pipelines like the one in Tongati are made possible through generous donations to meaningful gifts found in the FH Gift Catalog. With the gift of clean water, together we can help reshape the lives of God’s people and help them build brighter, flourishing futures. 

With access to clean water, Athalie’s family can grow and flourish.
With access to clean water, Athalie’s family can grow and flourish.


You are about to embark on a new FH Donor Experience

If you need assistance, please contact us at donorhelp@fh.org or 866-307-3259.

Subscribe to Email Newsletter at FH.org
Subscribe to Email Newsletter at FH.org

Get inspiration delivered to your inbox!

Get inspiring news, free e-books, fun activities and more.

Gift Policy:
You may send small, flat paper-based items that can fit into a standard #10 size envelope, have a value of less than $5 dollars and weigh less than 4 ounces. We ask that you send small, flat items of this size because shipping is expensive and even small gift items can cause issues clearing customs.
You can send postcards or photographs, however, we ask that you visit here for more details about culturally appropriate guidelines for photos and other images. Please write the child’s ID # on the back of each item that you enclose with your letter to ensure that it reaches him/her.
Best gifts to send your sponsored child:
  • Paper dolls
  • Postcards
  • Pictures of yourself or family
  • Sports cards, individual cards (baseball, soccer, football)
  • Stickers (flat, paper-based, only a few at a time)
  • Paper-based simple bookmarks, stationery, drawing, or writing paper (single sheets)
  • Coloring pages (single sheets, not books)
  • Please do NOT send:
  • Monetary gifts
  • Liquids, candy, or food
  • Batteries or magnets
Please note, all items should be compliant with airline transport and safety regulations. Gifts that don’t meet the gift policy will be donated to a local Christian non-profit organization in Phoenix, Arizona, that works with low-income families. We will not be able to return them.