From Amakuru! – News from the Rwandan Orphans Project, also known in Rwanda as ROP Center for Street Children.
ROP adds a social worker to the program.
The Rwandan Orphans Project (ROP) has long cared for the physical and educational needs of children who live at the ROP Center. Unfortunately, due to limited financial resources, we haven’t been able to give a substantial amount of attention to their mental health needs. This changed in July when Metamorfose AS, a Norwegian organization, offered to sponsor a social worker/staff psychologist position at the ROP. Metamorfose’s representative, Line Loen, felt that providing care for the emotional and mental health needs of vulnerable children is just as important as providing physical needs and schooling. The children who now live at the ROP each have their own circumstances that led them to the streets and each experience can leave mental trauma and emotional stress in their wake.
Having received news of this support the ROP went about searching for the best candidate to fill this roll. After a lengthy selection process Elisabeth Niyongana was selected as the Social Worker of the ROP. Elisabeth is a graduate of the National University of Rwanda in clinical psychology. She has extensive experience in community work as well as experience working with impoverished youth. Her job as Social Worker includes interviewing each child at the ROP to assess his mental health, counseling children according to their needs, hosting workshops to teach the children various life skills that will benefit them once they have left the ROP, and finding relatives of children at the ROP and building relationships between them with the hope of someday reintegrating the child back into the family.
These are large tasks when you consider that there are nearly 100 boys living at the ROP. But Elisabeth feels she is up to the challenge.