Mac & Cheese Productions believes in doing good—and that you don’t need to write a check to do so.
Patience Patience & Benigne: sponsor the education of Mac & Cheese’s Rwandan friend friends
Since 2008, a group of Cheese-Its has sponsored the education of Patience, a young man whom Saya met in Rwanda in 2007 during a videography work trip. While traveling the country, Saya met the family of her host, Sister Anna.
When Sister Anna’s siblings were killed in the Genocide, she became mother to their children, one of whom is Benita. Benita welcomed Saya with hugs, orange Fanta, a tour of her bright green house, and introductions to her two children. Benita became pregnant with Patience when she was sexually abused at age 17. She lived with Patience’s father for three abusive years and left when she became pregnant with Benigne. The father has not been in the picture since. Because of the trauma of the Genocide and rape, Benita was unable to finish high school and suffers from deep depression, making it difficult for her to work and provide for her children.
When Saya met Patience, he was 9. Though they couldn’t communicate verbally—at that point, his English was limited to “Jesus loves me” and her Kinyarwandan to “Muraho” (hello)—they connected through her teaching him how to use her camera. He captured her heart by sitting as close to her as he could and gingerly holding her Canon in his hands for the entire afternoon.
When Sister Anna approached Saya a year later about sponsoring his education, she wanted to say yes . . . but she didn’t have the $400. Instead, she banked on what she did have: a very generous network. She asked for $10 donations toward Patience’s schooling, promising only to collect if they reached their goal, and raised the funds quickly. Ever since, a group of Cheese-Its has sponsored Patience with annual donations that range from $5 to $100, always with the “will only collect if our goal is reached” caveat.
- 2016, 55 people, $1200 — both kids sponsored
- 2015, 35 people, $1350 — both kids sponsored
- 2014, 29 people, $825 — $600 was the goal; first year we’re sponsoring Patience AND Benigne, plus sending $225 for Christmas gifts for the family
- 2013, 31 people, $1200 — $600 was the goal; $600 will go towards this year’s education, $100 will go to gifts to Patience, his sister and his mother, and $500 will go to next year’s education
- 2012, 29 people, $600
- 2011, 31 people, $750
- 2010, 21 people, $400
- 2009, 19 people, $400
- 2008, 30 people, $400
BC Cares is a group of Chicagoland Boston College alumni and friends, started by Sara McCarthy and Saya in 2001, who volunteer together. They’re always looking for more volunteers—and you don’t have to be a BC alum to participate.
- Saturday School happens on several Saturday mornings during the school year and is games and arts and crafts with elementary-school children from an under-resourced area.
- Dignity Diner provides a restaurant-style vegetarian meal at a Lincoln Park location for people who are homeless and hungry. On the fourth Tuesday of every month from 6:00–7:30 p.m., BC Cares volunteers cook, set up, serve food, chat with clients and clean up.
- The Winter Coat Drive helps outfit McCutcheon Elementary students with warm winter clothes.
- The Catholic Charities Holiday Party for children in foster care, held each year in Streeterville, needs volunteers to help at stations like arts & crafts, food, games and more.
- The Day of Service is a day of giving back by BC alumni across the country. Chicago projects have ranged from cleaning a shelter for homeless families to playing bingo with low-income elderly neighbors.
If you’re interested in sponsoring Patience and Benigne, join us here! At this point, you’ll just be making a pledge. If we raise enough, Saya will be in touch in regards to your pledge, usually around November/December each year.
To volunteer with BC Cares, head here.