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Who We Are

The Rwandan people continue to experience deep suffering and trauma because of the 1994 genocide where almost 1 million people were killed in 100 days, many by their neighbors and friends.  During the genocide:

  • 99% of Rwandan children witnessed violence,
  • 90% believed they would die,
  • 87% saw dead bodies,
  • 80% lost at least one relative,
  • 58% saw people being killed with machetes, and
  • 31% witnessed rapes or other assaults.

The devastating impacts of the genocide linger today in high levels of trauma and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD); many orphaned children and single mothers; child labor and other human rights violations; chronic malnutrition, especially in rural areas; gender-based violence and extreme poverty.

Government programs cannot sufficiently address these monumental problems. Over 38% of Rwanda’s 12 million people live in poverty, with even greater poverty levels in rural areas; food insecurity persists; and many children suffer stunted growth from malnutrition. 

American Friends of Journey House Actions Rwanda (AFJHAR) stands uniquely positioned to help. 

Our Commitment

American Friends of Journey House Actions Rwanda (AFJHAR) strives to bring hope and healing to vulnerable Rwandan communities. Our work helps create infinite possibilities that change family histories. Sharing one dream and a united team we can create healthy, inclusive, self-reliant communities for vulnerable Rwandans.

Our Story

When asked what drives his efforts to help the most vulnerable Rwandan communities, Mr. Rogers Kimuli, executive director of Journey House Actions Rwanda (JHA) states,

I was stunted and malnourished as a child, but somehow the world blessed me and gave me light. The question that I live with always is "Can I share some light with someone else?”

To understand AFJHAR’s history, one must first know more about Mr. Kimuli. AFJHAR’s founding intertwines with Mr. Kimuli’s inspirational story, which took him from rural Rwanda to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After spending a decade working to provide hope and healing to Rwandan communities, Mr. Kimuli took part in a program sponsored by the U.S. State Department that pairs visionary nonprofit leaders from developing countries with successful nonprofits in the United States.

His efforts in Rwanda made him a logical choice for the U.S. State Department program, which selects just 100 out of 5,000 international leaders to participate. Through this program, Mr. Kimuli spent four months at Journey House in Milwaukee.

After returning to Rwanda, Mr. Kimuli formed JHA with other local leaders and with financial support from sponsors in the United States and Canada. JHA is a nonprofit, apolitical, nonreligious and nongovernmental organization registered and authorized by the government of Rwanda. 

Mr. Kimuli joined local leaders to form the organization out of a shared sense of selfless concern for the most vulnerable people living in Gashora, Rwanda. They patterned their efforts after the successful programs of Journey House in Milwaukee once they adapted the programs to meet local needs and Rwandan culture. 

In 2020, the future founding members of AFJHAR, inspired by the humility, courageous leadership and self-sacrifice of Mr. Kimuli, launched efforts to aid Rwandan communities in crisis through Journey House Actions Rwanda.

The enthusiastic and compassionate leaders who later founded AFJHAR, along with the support of many other investors, financed the construction of the Norman & Marlyn Herrle Early Childhood Development Center in Gashora, Rwanda, in 2020. The facility is one of the premier early childhood development centers in Rwanda today and provides educational services, child safety and nutritious meals to 250 children a day. 

In 2021, the center’s success led these leaders to form AFJHAR, as a U.S.-based, non-profit organization registered in the State of Wisconsin, in 2021. Many of the founding members of AFJHAR either met Mr. Kimuli when he was in Milwaukee or met him and his colleagues on service trips to Rwanda. 

The purpose of AFJHAR is to financially support organizations like JHA that work to transform the lives of vulnerable Rwandan children and families and help them achieve their infinite possibilities. AFJHAR distributes 100% of donations as grants to JHA.  

Our Board of Directors 

Charles Brown – Board Chair

Deputy Director
Journey House Inc.
Milwaukee, WI

Greg Herrle – President

Community Volunteer
Retired Principal, Milliman Inc.
Brookfield, WI

Chris Calvelli – Treasurer

Managing Director, ECAB Investment Group
Baird Inc.
Milwaukee, WI

Dawn Helwig, FSA – Secretary

Community Volunteer
Retired Principal, Milliman Inc.
Chicago, IL

John Cantieri, M.D.

Physician
Retired, Dermatology Specialists
Elm Grove, WI

Jaron Crawford

Quality Control Engineer
Siemens Energy & Automation
Grand Prairie, Texas

Gregory J. Herrle, FSA

Principal
Milliman Inc.
Brookfield, WI

Myra Rosario Herrle, Ph.D., RPh, RAC

Executive Vice President Regulatory Affairs
POINT Biopharma
Chapel Hill, NC

Silvio Ingui, FSA

Community Volunteer
Retired Principal, Milliman Inc.
Scottsdale, AZ

Tracy Josetti

Director of Donor Philanthropy
Marquette University High School
Milwaukee, WI

Rogers Kimuli

Executive Director
Journey House Actions Rwanda
Gashora, Rwanda

Liz Kolb

Community Volunteer
Brookfield, WI

Mary Wirka Mantilla

Community Volunteer
Mundelein, IL

Bill Pollock

Community Volunteer 
Retired Principal, Milliman Inc.
Anthem, AZ

Sarah Ripp, PA-C

Occupational Medicine, Urgent Care
SSM Health
Madison, WI  

Julie Steinhafel

Community Volunteer
Elm Grove, WI

Joan Sturm

Community Volunteer
Milwaukee, WI

Connie Wheeler

Community Volunteer
Pewaukee, WI 

Special Advisors to the Board:

Michele Bria, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer
Journey House, Inc.
Milwaukee, WI

Les Weil

Community Volunteer
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Our Founding Members

Charles Brown
Milwaukee, WI

Jaron Crawford & Jamaica Phan
Grand Prairie, TX

Gregory & Ruth Herrle
Brookfield, WI

Silvio & Sally Ingui
Scottsdale, AZ

Liz & Dan Kolb
Brookfield, WI

Sarah & Matt Ripp
Deforest, WI

Chris & Kelly Calvelli
Milwaukee, WI 

Dawn & Ted Helwig
Chicago, IL

Laura Hermanns
Milwaukee, WI

Myra & Brian Herrle
Chapel Hill, NC

Tracy & Jeremy Josetti
New Berlin, WI

Cherise & Johnny Myers
Milwaukee, WI

Joan & Mike Sturm
Milwaukee, WI

John & Katy Cantieri
Elm Grove, WI

Greg & Jeanne Herrle
Brookfield, WI

Marie Hynek
Madison, WI

Rogers Kimuli
Gashora, Rwanda

Bill & Lori Pollock
Anthem, AZ

Connie & Kevin Wheeler
Pewaukee, WI

Journey House Actions Rwanda Partners

Help American Friends of Journey House Actions Rwanda

Create Infinite Possibilities!

Your donation helps American Friends of Journey House Actions Rwanda (AFJHAR) spread rays of hope for Rwandans in need. AFJHAR uses financial gifts to fund education, women’s empowerment, workforce development, and health improvement programs. Every donation is a valuable pledge that transforms lives.

100% of designated donations directly support programs in Rwanda!