Elias lives together with his wife, Ester, and their two grandchildren, Iradukunda Mervielle and Isezerano Desange. Elias’s life story is gripping, revealing his years of atrocious hardships, continuous perseverance, and remarkable resilience.
Elias’s journey began in 1943 on a banana plantation in Congo, where he grew up. The farm was established by a Belgian colonialist, who, in the 1960s, left the property to his children to manage. On the plantation, Elias met his wife, Ester, and they both, at a young age, began working at the farm. Eventually, they married and had two kids, a girl, and a boy. According to Elias, life at this point was okay.
Later, the Belgian family decided to leave for Europe, leaving the farm to a Congolese man to take over, worsening the situation. Working conditions were grim and harsh, with double shifts, no money payment, and minimal food access. After another turn of events, the Congolese man decided to sell the whole plantation in 2018, resulting in Elias and Ester losing the only home they had ever known and all their possessions. After being beaten, the couple fled to Rwanda, arriving in Bisizu Village, looking for a new life.
Today, the couple lives in a small room which the Rwandan government helped to provide and survives on merely 10.000 RWF ($10) monthly, earned by Ester. Ester works for the government, which entails sweeping the road in Bisizu. Due to Elias’s age, and the manual labor required for a job, he cannot work. Elias and Ester share their small living space with their two young grandchildren, whom they bring up in their multigenerational household. The small children were left in Elias’s and Ester’s care by their daughter Jacqueline, who unfortunately is a prostitute in the Congo. The whereabouts of their son David are unknown. He joined the Congolese army in 1996 but has unfortunately not been seen since.
Please donate today and help us relieve some of Elias and Ester's hardships by providing them with a home. A safe and clean place to raise their grandchildren, to ensure the family has an opportunity to live and thrive.
Elias, and Ester with their grandchildren Mervielle and Desange in front of the single room they live in.
The entire family sleeps together on a thin grass mat.
Elias was born, raised and worked on a plantation in Zaire until he fled to his homeland in Rwanda.
Elias and Ester arrived in Rwanda with just the clothes on their back and no other possessions.
Ester has not seen her son since he joined the Congolese army in 1996. Her daughter became a prostitute and they last saw each other in 2019.
Everything the family owns was given to them by the generosity of their neighbors.
Ester works for the government sweeping the roads and earns $10/month, which is the family's only income.
Elias and Ester deserve a clean, safe home to raise their grandchildren. Please consider donating.