About Us

Village Makeover began in 2004 when Carole Canale, founder of VMO, was asked to help with the care of a visiting family from Rwanda. That family was the Rumenera family, Willy, Antoinette and their young son Andre. That soon took a life of its own, a life beyond helping to care for them. We started dreaming and our dreams led to our work in Rwanda. The Rumeneras returned to Rwanda 2006 and Carole visited in 2007, fell in love with the people and the country. There was no way but forward, Willy and I formed a partnership and I came home and formed Village Makeover, a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

Village Makeover’s Heartbeat:
I, Carole want to share a little about our philosophy or our ideology concerning VMO and what motivates us. It is certainly our belief in fairness and justice, it’s our faith and it’s a strong belief that each of us has a role in making this world a better place to live.

Inside Village Makeover:
The projects are an end goal, but what is important to VMO is the process of getting there. There are in-between steps for doing sustainable projects. It’s showing the people you’re working with that they are valuable. If they believe in themselves you have a much stronger partner. Having self-worth, believing in one’s self, allows one to operate at a higher level and face problems in a more positive way. Not always internalizing them and making them personal failures, but seeing them as problems to be solved. It’s about helping them to see their abilities and strengths and building a strong relationship with them.

Building trust:
Building trust is another value VMO holds close when engaging in people’s lives. People don’t really invest themselves until they know that you care. They may engage for the benefit that you bring, but if you want a partner that you can go to the high and low places with, you need that trust. You can’t turn a blind eye to problems, they happen, but you can transcend them when you have relationship and trust. This takes time, but we believe in its value. One of the first things we heard when going to the village of Cyanika, where our work is, was that people made promises, but never followed through. They didn’t particularly trust the outside world. We knew we had to spend the time to change that perspective. We spent a year before doing a project and it was the best investment we made.

Village Makeover Leadership

Carole - President & Founding Director
Willy - Rwandan Team Leader