All African children, youth and young adults are provided with essential needs (safe home, food, healthcare, education, human rights) to productively pursue a prosperous future.
Champion a community-based approach to lift African children, youth and young adults out of poverty, and ensure their health, education and overall well-being, so that they may pursue a prosperous future.
- Use theater to bring awareness to the problems facing vulnerable children and youth in Africa, giving youth a positive avenue to focus their efforts and build their confidence.
- Allow youth participating in BHA’s program to advocate for their own interests through theatrical performances attended by important people in their community.
- Promote education as a vehicle to improve the likelihood of a prosperous future.
- Support partner organizations working to provide homes and other essential services for orphans, street children and other vulnerable youth.
- Bring awareness to the struggles of African youth within African communities, as well as internationally.
Our approach involves both directly intervening on behalf of Africa’s most vulnerable children as well as supporting partner grassroots African organizations to further their ability to provide homes and care for orphans, street children, kids with disabilities and other at-risk populations in Africa.
In August 2014 BHA launched its first pilot project in the African country of Rwanda. Due to the devastating legacy of the 1994 Rwandan genocide of the Tutsi, when 20% (approx. 800,000 people) of the population were killed in a period of 100 days, Rwanda is home to the world’s highest proportion of orphans and youth-headed households.
Additionally, Rwandan cities are plagued with kids spending their lives living and begging for food and money on the streets. Many kids resort to street life when their parents die and their extended family is not able to care for them, their parents abandon them, they are able to obtain a higher quality of life on the street than in their homes, or they suffer from domestic violence or abuse.
To learn more about this problem, check out this UNICEF video about Rwandan street children:
Christine has been passionate about contributing to the development of the African continent since she was a child. In 2010 that passion led her to visit Rwanda with an organization called Global Youth Connect. She fell in love with the country and its people. However, she couldn’t help but notice the large number of kids living and begging for money and food on the streets. When she was living there, she began feeding kids who came to her house. A child named Micky was the first. He was so happy to find a place to get food that he started to bring his friends, and then his friends started to bring their friends. That is when she decided that she wanted to do something for these kids in the future, and the idea of BHA was sparked.
While in Africa, Christine worked on public health policy advocacy with Health Development Initiative-Rwanda, a local non-profit striving for sustainable health in the region. She also advocated for increased women’s reproductive rights and raised awareness on AIDS prevention measures in rural areas of the country. Additionally, she has more than six years of experience in various US based non-profit organizations including Public Health Institute, the Consumer Federation of California and the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce.
She holds a Masters degree in International Relations from San Francisco State University, and a Bachelors degree in Black Studies and Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Philippe lost his parents when he was nine years old in the Rwandan genocide against the tutsi, but was lucky to be helped by family, friends, and non-profit organizations to become the person he is today. He created BHA because he would like to give the gift of support and education to other African kids who are now in the shoes he was twenty years ago. More than anything, he wants to bring hope to these kids that a better future is possible if they work hard and go to school.
Philippe has over eight years of experience working with non-governmental organizations in Rwanda, including Rwandans Allied for Peace and Progress (RAPP), Population Services International and Handicapped Rwanda. As a head trainer at RAPP, where he worked for seven years, he trained youth to use music and theater to educate their peers about HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention as well as other social issues.
Philippe has a degree from the College of the Seventh Day Adventist in Accounting. He moved from Rwanda to the United States in 2012, and is now attending Sacramento City College to pursue his love of photography and videography.
Mikey has worked for the healthcare industry, in patient accounting, for the past twenty-five years. This includes fifteen years as a sole proprietor, billing and collecting for private practices. Three years ago she made the change to eventually becoming the Practice Manager of a physician’s office in Sacramento, California which specializes in Pain Management.
In addition, Mikey is an avid country dancer, dancing as much as possible each week. One of her favorite country artists, John Michael Montgomery wrote, “Life’s a dance, you learn as you go, sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow”. She believes these words to be true, as well as one’s responsibility.
A few years ago, Mikey learned of a lady in Rwanda who was devastated by a fire in which one of her four children was severely burned. She had no funds to pay for medical costs and her son was turned away for much needed medical treatment. She realized it was time “to lead” and thus organized a fundraiser which raised enough funds to cover the medical costs for this one child and pay for one year of schooling.
Mikey is proud to again take a lead role with Building Hope for Africa. Her hope is that many will follow in helping the strayed children of Africa acquire the basic needs of food, shelter, and education.
She would like to alter the previous lyrics to say, “Yes, Life’s a dance: Take frame… Lead or Follow… AND don’t forget to learn as you go!”
Yehoyada Mbangukira was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo because his Rwandan parents had been exiled to the Congo following the early ethnic conflicts of the early 1960s in Rwanda.
He has now lived in the United States for over 30 years. When he finished college he worked as a College Microbiologist, later worked in the IT sector for several years as a Business Developer and now works in the healthcare industry, specifically in Endocrinology Specialty Sales (Diabetes/Metabolism). He is married to Assumpta, of Rwanda as well and they have three children.
Yehoyada Mbangukira is active in a number of civic organizations, namely: The Alliance at Sonoma State University (Genocide & Holocaust studies), Friends of Rwanda Association (not-for profit organization that helps orphans in Rwanda); African Leadership Association (a group that brings together many African countries to seek the common good and help the African continent).
His hobbies are reading, traveling and public speaking. Last but not least he is the current President of the Rwandan Community of California.
MUHIRWA is passionate about projects that foster African leadership and self reliance. He loves to serve his community and strives to tackle the needs of all people.
MUHIRWA is currently a Program Assistant at the grassroots Rwandan non-profit organization Ihorere Munyarwanda, and is funded through USAID and FHI 360 to help manage projects involving at risk populations.
Prior to Ihorore Munyarwanda, MUHIRWA worked for the Rwanda Biomedical Center (a national heath institution) as the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer through the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV Fellowship Program.
MUHIRWA also served as a Head Trainer for Rwandans Allied for Peace and Progress (RAPP) from 2003-2011, where he integrated technical theatre with concrete messages to transmit health education messages in RAPP’s social change communications program. He also served People Living with HIV/AIDS through economic empowerment and counseling programs to improve their life conditions.
Additionally, between 2002 and 2007, MUHIRWA was in charge of socio-economic development of youth, which included street children, at the Rwanda National Youth Council.
Through his experience and commitment, MUHIRWA believes BHA will prove fruitful for African kids. Building hope for Africa nurtures the future generation of the African Continent.
MUHIRWA holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from the National University of Rwanda, College of Business and Economics. He also completed a two years HIV/AIDS fellowship program at Tulane University (United States) and CDC (Center for Diseases Control Prevention).
Shilpa Girimaji is an Attorney in the Sacramento area. Her practice focuses on municipal and public agency law.
Shilpa’s passion for global injustice stems from her childhood trips to India. In the foreseeable future, Shilpa would like to start her own non-profit dedicated to bringing sports to young girls in India.
Shilpa is honored to serve as a Board Member for BHA and support their incredible cause. Shilpa hopes her legal knowledge will help continue the success of BHA.
Shilpa holds a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of California Santa Barbara and a Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law.
Social Media Manager
Kallie is a lover of all things media and enjoys being engaged in the community. As a social media coordinator with BHA, she is able to fulfill her passions for both philanthropy and communications. She is graduate of CSU, Sacramento with a degree in journalism and is currently following her love of writing, obsessing over social media, and tending to her succulent garden.