Edward was born as a refugee in Tanzania to Rwandan parents. Upon return to his home country, he is an ordained pastor with the Lutheran Church of Rwanda. Edward is currently studying nursing. His experience growing up as a refugee gives him first-hand insight into the life of a refugee today. He feels a deep responsibility to support those currently living as refugees. With Ryan Bose and Jacob Sprang, he founded and currently acts as the president of Disaster Response Initiative (DRI), a Rwandan organization that focuses on providing relief to communities affected by disasters natural and man-made.
Jacob is currently a masters student at Columbia University, SIPA, where he studies humanitarian policy and conflict resolution. In 2015, he helped co-found the REST alongside Edward Makara and Ryan Bose during a meeting in Rwanda, where he was supporting community organizing activities for PICO-Rwanda. He is currently serving as the Executive Director of the REST, leading fundraising efforts and providing support to the organizations strategic vision.
co-irector of marketing & communications
Maija is currently a divinity student in Chicago, IL. She met Jacob Sprang and Ryan Bose during an orientation before they left to live in Rwanda for a year. While they served in Rwanda, she worked with a social service organization for the homeless in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary. The global migrant crisis reached its most visible point right after she left Hungary and prompted her to seek out opportunities to continue to serve refugee and migrant communities while back in the United States. She hopes that The REST will work to help alleviate the burdens faced by displaced people by working alongside them.
co-director of marketing & communications
Ryan currently works on his family farm in Cedar, Kansas. He is a trained small-craft pilot with a passion for travel. He spent a year in Kirehe, Rwanda working at a vocational training center, assisting in the welding shop. During his time in Rwanda, he developed a friendship with Edward Makara and Jacob Sprang. Together, they worked to develop both The REST and the Rwandan partner, The Disaster Relief Initiative, to assist in building community and empowering the refugees in Mahama Refugee Camp.
Patrick is a public sector performance transformation practice consultant in Alexandria, Virginia. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in May 2015 with a Bachelors of Arts in Economics, a minor in process management and consulting, and a passion for environmental awareness and international development. While at William and Mary, he met Jacob Sprang on the rugby team and learned about Jacob's experience in Rwanda. Since graduation, that conversation over Jacob’s experiences evolved into the foundation of The REST. He seeks to continue to work with his fellow colleagues to improve the lives of others and assist all in recovering agency.