06 September 2012
Helping Rwandan orphans to have a better life
Meet Maralyn Bambridge from Suffolk, who runs Engalynx, a charity she started in 1998 to help the orphans of the Rwandan genocide.
Moved by the plight of Rwanda's orphans, Maralyn (pictured) wanted to do something to help them. She started the charity Engalynx to raise funds and appeal for educational and health equipment.
Since those early days, Engalynx has helped to equip three nursery schools, provide items such as blankets, toys and goats for families, start an orphanage and set up training schools to teach teenagers skills like carpentry and sewing.
A former Methodist local preacher, Maralyn travels to Rwanda every year to take out supplies, look at current projects and to listen to local people to find out what the current needs are.
She's recently returned from the country where she has been finalising plans for a maternity unit. It's now been approved by the local authority and should be ready by June 2013 and will form part of what will eventually become a health centre.
"There are many needs in this country but Engalynx is concentrating for the moment of the health needs of the population of Mwulire Sector, in the Eastern Province of Rwanda," said Maralyn. "This sector consisting of 30 villages, has a population of about 19,000 without any health care.
"The cost of the full health centre is about £500,000 but I agreed with the local authority that we could build block by block as allowed. I now have sufficient funding for the maternity block."
Maralyn regularly speaks to churches, schools, rotary clubs and other groups to appeal for funds and equipment and enlists the help of experts, such as surveyors, whenever she can.
"My text for the charity letterhead and brochure comes from Jesus' teaching on the Judgement in Matthew 25:39-41. It is quite clear that every time we help anyone, we are serving Jesus. This has been my ethos behind Engalynx. There are, of course, so many other words of our Lord that instruct us to care for each other.
"The need for help in Rwanda was brought to me personally and I see that as a very definite call from God. I could not ignore this and have been so wonderfully rewarded with all my prayers for the charity answered.
"Whenever there has been a problem or need God has been there. That does not mean that everything has gone smoothly, but that I have been given the strength, contacts, skills or whatever else has been needed to cope and overcome."
Maralyn Bambridge was nominated for an Inspire Award by John Carrington from Colchester, Essex
This article first appeared in Inspire magazine.