The children’s father, identified as 30-year-old Bazirake Kariya, was killed in a car crash while he was on his way to work on New Year’s Eve, the family’s pastor Eugene Kiruhura told the Des Moines Register. Authorities found the deceased father’s car in a creek, and there was a winter storm around that location at the time of the accident.
Kariya passed away not too long after rescuers pulled him out of his car, WHO-13 reported. Kariya’s wife, Zabayo Bigirimana, died while she was giving birth four months earlier. The deceased couple leave behind their newborn baby girl and four boys who are aged 2, 6, 8, and 10.
“They’ve been crying all the time, saying ‘We lost mother. We lost father.’” Kiruhura said about how the tragedy has affected the kids. “It’s very, very hard to the kids.”
The deceased couple are originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and they moved to the United States three years ago, Kiruhura told the Des Moines Register.
The children are now under the care of their grandparents, but Kiruhura said they cannot afford to take care of their grandchildren. They also cannot speak English, WHO-13 reported.
Following Kariya’s death, Kiruhura set up a GoFundMe to help raise funds to cover his funeral expenses and also support the five children. “We are raising funds to help assist with his funeral expenses and any extra funds will go into an account reserved for the children,” Kiruhura stated on the page.
“Keep these children in your prayers this is very sudden and extremely shocking for them to lose both parents like this in a short period of time.”
The pastor also told the Des Moines Register the children “will need a lot of things.” “They will need a car. They will go to school. They need to eat. They don’t have anyone who is working for them. By raising this money, it will help them for (the) long-term,” he added.