From Amakuru! News from the Rwandan Orphans Project.
Unfortunately, Muneza has a story that is similar to so many Rwandan families who live in poverty. Muneza’s father died when he was very young, leaving his mother to care for Muneza and his three siblings on her own. She would work roasting corn on the street and selling it to passersby, making very little money. She often could not afford to feed her family, so Muneza and his siblings gradually spent more and more time begging on the streets of Kigali.
Here they would make enough money in a day to buy food for themselves and consequently would go home less and less. When Muneza did go home, he says his mother would beat him for being away so long, which only encouraged him to spend time away from home on the streets.
Muneza said that he survived by begging for scraps of food from restaurants or begging for money. He would sleep under the bridge of a river in a run-down part of town in cardboard boxes. He had three friends who he would sometimes sleep and beg with, but often he was on his own.
He lived like this for around one year. Muneza was found by the ROP’s Director, Celestin Mitabu, begging outside a bank in the centre of Kigali. Celestin asked Muneza if he would like to join a centre where he would get regular meals and a chance to attend school for the first time in his life. Muneza and a friend he was with agreed. That was in January this year and they have both been at the Centre ever since.
Muneza is a lively, boisterous child who is well known amongst staff and children. He loves to pull funny faces and play jokes and is a very bright boy who is doing well in school. He particularly loves to sing, dance, perform gymnastics, play cards and look at books (he isn’t able to read well yet). He says he enjoys life at the centre, especially as the food has recently improved.
Muneza says that someday he wants to be a big businessman, owning restaurants and cars all around Rwanda. With his charisma and energy, and a little help from the ROP, his dreams may very well come true.