Empowering Vulnerable Communities: Rising Above the Storms (RAS) Partners with Westcon-Comstor Sub Saharan Africa

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Brentwood, TNRising Above the Storms and Westcon-Comstor are thrilled to formalize a partnership to empower vulnerable communities in Africa.  The announcement extends Westcon-Comstor’s support from RAS’s programs for vulnerable children to young impoverished mothers supported by our local partner Amahoro Builders (AB).  Westcon-Comstor’s General Manager for Africa, Vincent Centonu, visited RAS and its partner in Kigali, Rwanda last month to personally give a twelve thousand dollars donation.  Last year Westcon-Comstor, a $3 billion global technology distribution company, gave about $17 thousand to RAS, bringing the total giving close to thirty thousand dollars to date.

Last year’s gift went to funding RAS’ street children program, focused on rescuing children from the street, rehabilitating them and nurturing them back to school.  This year, the lion’s share will go to Amahoro Builder’s program that helps young, single mothers with micro loans to start businesses to support their families.  This is critical to the welfare of RAS’ children, because many left their homes for the street because their single mothers couldn’t support them.  Alphonsine Anderson, RAS Founder and CEO says “We believe that supporting their mothers or custodians with a way to earn a living to support their families will break the cycle of children returning to the streets.”  

A smaller portion of the gift will go to supporting two individuals who went through the RAS’ program.  One is a high school student named Fabrice, who is an orphan who supports his grandmother and siblings.  He’s getting a micro loan to help him to start a business to support his family while he pursues higher education.  The other is Idrissa, who was one of the first street children to attend RAS’ program and the first to receive a scholarship to university, where he’s studying an engineering degree.  Until now he’s been living at home, where he doesn’t have an adequate place to study, nor electricity or Internet.  The gift will pay for his room and board on campus.  

“Teen mothers experienced rejection, depression, poverty, school dropout, lack of career developmental opportunities that affect the well-being of teen mothers’ children at a tender age. We are thankful to Comstor’s support that will empower 45 teen mothers, creating a viable environment for their babies, rehabilitating teen mothers’ dignity toward complete healing of their wounds. The financial support will assist to start small businesses generating income, pave a way to self-reliance and child protection”, said Appoline Kabera, AB Representative. 

“The partnership between RAS and Westcon-Comstor began in November 2021. Focus was on three areas: education, empowerment, and technology.  The November 2023 collaboration focuses on enabling and empowering young people to fulfill their potential (hence Education : Supporting 2 gifted students through University Education & Empowering Teen Mums through proving Trade skills Training & providing Small business Seed money” said Vincent Entonu.

“I extend my deepest gratitude to Vincent Centonu and the entire Westcon-Comstor team for not only their contributions the past two years, but their willingness to visit our facility in Rwanda twice,” said Alphonsine Anderson.  Two years ago she was introduced to Comstor, one of the largest distributors for Cisco Technologies, where she works full-time.  “The first time Vincent visited us he was moved by the work that Amahoro Builders was doing to support young impoverished mothers, many with recovering street children” said Apoline Kabera, Managing Director of Amahoro Builders.  “It means a lot to the mothers, their children and our staff that he personally took the time to meet with us,” she continued.  

About Rising Above the Storms 

RAS is on a mission to give vulnerable children a chance to succeed, one child at a time.  We support them through (3) three programs.  (1) Street child program: We rescue children from the street, rehabilitate them through counseling & nurture them back to school.  (2) Scholarship program: We provide scholarships & financial aid to high aptitude children from low income families.  (3) Soccer program: We provide a soccer club as an after school activity for street children who compete in local matches.  RAS operates in Rwanda through partner Amahoro Builders, who provides local oversight as well as focusing on its own mission to empower young impoverished families, primarily single mothers.