12 years ago, we were in Kyramo, Rwanda where LTH Coffee built the Forgiveness School. We met a young orphan around 10 years old named HAFASHIMANA Emmanuel, or Manu for short. He was paralyzed from the waist down and scooting himself around on the dirt by his hands. The instant we met this strong, young boy we knew we wanted to help. We sprang into action to raise money to purchase him a wheelchair. Manu, short for Emmanuel is a very popular name in Rwanda which means, "God is with us." He became known as, “Wheelchair Manu,” to distinguish himself from the others.
After some time in his wheelchair, Manu made crutches and started teaching himself to walk. When Jonathan visited him a couple of years later, he was thrilled to see that, “Wheelchair Manu,” had now become known as, "Walking Manu." They shook hands and together they tossed out his wheelchair as a symbol of letting go of the past.
With his new sense of accomplishment, Manu then attended technical school. Eventually he found it was not his calling, but he had something else in mind. In 2018 Jonathan visited Manu again and he apologized for quitting school but with pride shared that he now owns a barber shop in Musanze with two employees, pays rent, and even taxes. He also has recently married a lovely lady, Alinatha.
As much as we have impacted Manu, his journey and his will to overcome have impacted us even more. Manu never gave up not even when things were extremely difficult for him. He pulled himself up (literally) every day and the gift of a wheelchair helped him to not lose his hope and determination. He has come such a long way since we first met him.
We are thankful to be a part of Manu’s story and to have YOU as part of our story. Your partnership gives us the opportunity to impact lives as they impact ours.