Five children in Des Moines, Iowa, have become orphans after losing both of their parents within four months of one another.
According to the Des Moines Register, 30-year-old Bazirake Kariya died in a car accident on New Year’s Eve. Kariya was driving to work through Marshall County when slippery road conditions caused him to crash his vehicle during inclement weather. He worked at the JBS pork processing plant in Marshalltown. Moments later, authorities found Kariya and his car submerged in a freezing creek. Efforts to save the man were unsuccessful.
Kariya’s wife, Zabayo Bigirimana, died four months prior from complications of childbirth while giving birth to their baby girl.
The couple both leave behind a four-month-old daughter and four boys– ages 2, 6, 8, and 10.
The family fled from the Democratic Republic of Congo three years ago and moved to Des Moines two years ago.
Kariya and Bigirimana’s children are now living with their grandparents. To cover funeral costs and raise money to help care for the children, Pastor Eugene Kiruhara initiated a GoFundMe (GFM) page.
The Shalom Covenant Church leader asked the community for help on the donation page. Kiruhara also came to the U.S. from the Congo in 2007. He established the church in 2014 to assist other African refugee families from Burundi, Rwanda and the Congo.
The GFM page had an ask of $200,000. Donations have exceeded that goal by over $100,000. The family has received almost 5,000 donations from supporters and well-wishers. The highest donation recorded was from Robert Sturgeon for $5,000. Other top donations were $4,000, $2,500 and $2,000, respectively.