Elina Mukantagozera is raising her five biological children and one fostered, orphan child on her own in Kibuye. For many years, Elina and her family lived in poverty, as the children’s father was imprisoned and unable to contribute financially to the home. A Christian since 1987, Elina never felt compelled to be involved in the church beyond attending an occasional worship service. But that changed in 2007, when her local church began the “40 Days of Purpose Campaign,” an event that changed her life forever. After participating in the campaign and reading The Purpose Driven Life, Elina says, “My spirit was renewed, and I was never the same again. I realized that I could add value in my church and community.” Her pastor put her in charge of finances for the church, and in 2008, she was chosen to be trained as a Community PEACE Servant. She began working with seven families in her area, teaching them basic skills for having a healthy home. In 2010, Elina set a goal to expand her outreach from seven families to 17. That year, she also underwent water sanitation training and received a water filter for her home. This created a new way for her to reach out to her neighbors, as they would come to her house to get clean water for their families. Her commitment to helping others earned her an elected role as Community Health Worker with the Rwandan government, where she was responsible for the healthcare of 180 families. Elina also started a women’s savings group of 32 members in her church that saved more than 600,000 Rwandan francs ($930.24 USD) in a one-year period. “We are now going to start giving loans to our members who want to start a small business,” she says.
Within her own family, Elina went from living in the poorest of conditions to having a home with doors, cement floors, clean water, and electricity. She began growing beans and vegetables to sell, which led to her opening a small restaurant. Her two sons have both graduated from high school and are now working to financially support the family as well.
In an article dated January 25, 2013, President Paul Kagame stated, “We have seen in Rwanda the ability of the Community Health Workers to improve public health and believe that this initiative can serve the cause of public health throughout Africa.”
Living her purpose and loving like Jesus, Elina Mukantagozera is not only transforming her community, she is also contributing to the transformation of an entire nation.