Venice Non-Profit Goes to Rwanda Africa!

By Wyatt Valentine

Jessica McCall, a Venice resident since 1962, founded Jessie’s Place, a non-profit organization in Venice in 1990, where it originally provided a sober living environment for people living in recovery.

Jessie’s Place also has provided community centers with outreach programs, advocacy for families and at-risk youths in the greater Los Angeles area, the Pico Union District and in the Venice area.

Through the years, Jessie’s Place has provided assistance to an orphanage and a community center in Mexico. McCall also went to Guatemala, where she assisted a mobile medical clinic.

In 2005, McCall visited Gisenyi Rwanda where she met two extraordinary people, Frederick Ndabaramiye (who had both arms cut off during the genocide) and Zachary Deusingimana (who teaches English at the Imbabazi orphanage). They decided to open a community center called Ubumwe, which means unity or togetherness.

The Ubumwe center provides services for handicapped genocide survivors, people with birth defects, street children and classes for deaf children.

Our main goals are to:

• Reduce the number of beggars

• To teach skills to the handicapped

• Reduce illiteracy

• Create jobs for handicapped

• Making a place where all handicapped and disadvantaged in Ginsenyi can share and discuss their problems

• To show other people that the handicapped can do many things in our society and that they can help others to find a way they can support themselves.

Since 2005 the center has grown and serves approximately 50 people a day where they have classes in English, sewing, card making, and indigenous crafts, which are then sold to help feed their families and eliminates the need for begging. The Ubumwe Center provides an environment of loving acceptance and nurtures self-esteem through a sense of community and empowerment through education, hope and healing.

Leaving again for Rwanda Africa in November, Jessica will be bringing greetings, supplies, and hope from. We wish her a safe and wonderful trip.

If you would care to learn more about the Ubumwe Center and the work Jessie’s Place is doing please visit

Posted: Thu - November 1, 2007 at 02:05 PM