Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘boys’

What A Year Its Been

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Last year we faced our program’s greatest challenge and you, Rwandan Orphans Project and Imizi Children’s Center supporters, came to the rescue and helped us secure our future for years to come. That achievement made 2015 ROP’s best year yet, but I’m very happy to tell you 2016 was an equally great year for us and those we support.

Why is that? Well, from the moment we settled into our new home we began making renovations and improvements around our property that have made our Imizi Children’s Center a better place for our children. But while those changes are important, what Imizi is really all about is helping vulnerable people, and this year we have been able to serve more than ever before.

And we’re not only helping kids anymore. Recognizing that adults can also benefit from our presence in our rural community we began hosting meetings and workshops for local people and the family members of children who stay with us, where they could learn about family planning, sexual health, positive parenting, gender equality and other topics. Our goal is to help solve domestic issues before they lead to a breakdown of the family. To us preventing a child from leaving home to live on the street is just as important as helping those who are already out there.

We’ve had many achievements this year, and we hope you are as proud of them as we are. In 2016:

We increased the total number of vulnerable children attending our school from 140 to 200. These are children from our community’s poorest families who cannot afford to pay for public school, so they attend Imizi’s school completely free of charge.

We completely renovated one of the boys’ dormitories, making it more comfortable and safe for them. We also constructed new toilets and an eco-friendly outdoor kitchen that is great for the environment and saves us money.

We began constructing a massive underground water storage tank with a rainwater collection system that should ensure our children and animals have access to water even during the long dry seasons.

We successfully reintegrated 11 children back into their families. Each of them will continue going to school with the support of ROP.

 We rescued 19 children from homelessness. Three of them were only five years old, while the others were all under 10 years old.

We have five boys who have completed secondary school, two who have finished vocational school and one who has graduated university with a bachelor’s degree. In 2017 we will be supporting 21 in secondary school and 8 in vocational training.

Eight – that’s right EIGHT – of our graduates have performed well enough to earn government scholarships to university starting next year. That is a record for ROP and a huge achievement for these amazing young men.

To all of those who have donated to us this year and supported us in other ways – thank you for your continued support. We are so grateful to have your support as we do our work. 

For those who wish to make a donation as we approach 2017, you can visit our website for details of how to do this.

A Circle of Love

images17Communion: The Female Search for Love by Bell Hooks.

One of my favorite passages from one of my favorite books.

Witness to Love

Women and men, girls and boys, must restructure how we spend our time if we want to be loving. We cannot be overachievers and perfectionist performers from kindergarten on in our public lives (the world of school and work) if we are to learn how to love, if we want to practice the art of loving. Genuine love requires time and commitment. And this is simply the case for love in the context of partnership. Self-love takes times and commitment, particularly on the part of those who are wounded in the space where we would know love in our childhoods. New women today, the late-twenties and thirty-something crew, are as reluctant as their patriarchal male counterparts to make time for love. Wise aging women know that one of the keenest regrets a large number of females experience in their lives is failure to understand early the power and meaning of love. Not only would that knowledge have afforded an understanding that would have prevented them from ending up emotionally abused and battered, it would have ushered true love in to their lives sooner rather than later.

My hope for younger generations of women is that they will examine the unfulfilled spaces of their lives soon and boldly, unabashedly choosing to do the work of love, placing it above everything. Again and again it must be stated that when I talk about doing the work of love, I am not talking simply about partnerships; I am talking about the work of self-love in conjunction with the work of relational love. Visionary feminist thinkers were among the first group of people to call attention to the disservice we women do to ourselves when we act as though it were important only to find the right partner, someone to love, rather than to choose a circle of love. When we place emphasis on building a beloved community, of which having a partner may be an essential part but not the whole, we free ourselves to lead joyous lives as single folks, (in or out of partnership with another).

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Best Year Yet!

Thank you for helping make 2013 Rwandan Orphan’s Project’s (ROP) best year yet!

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Some of our major highlights include:

This year we witnessed one of our own graduate from the National University of Rwanda with a degree in mechanical engineering. He is the first ROP graduate to finish university and we take great pride in his accomplishment and share his joy of success.

We started our agriculture project this year with five large scale greenhouses. This project is an income generating program that will use the income generated from the sales of the vegetables we produce to help fund the ROP for throughout the year.

Our nursery school, another income generating program, also saw growth this year and we hope to see it filled to capacity when the 2014 school year starts in January.

We’ve been able to hire more staff to help take care of the children and their needs. Today we finally have enough caretakers to manage the well-being of our 100 boys who rely on them for guidance and advice each and every day.

One of our most important successes is the expansion of our social work program. We now have two social workers who focus on the rehabilitation of our children’s behavior, their mental health and rebuilding the relationships between our children and what family members they may have, so that one day we may reunite them in a way that is successful for both family and child. And if we can’t reunite them to live together, it’s important that the children have relationships with family members if at all possible

After nearly a year of photography lessons, a group of boys from the ROP had their photos displayed at an exhibition in Kigali as well as a photo auction in San Diego, California. Both exhibitions were a smashing success and visitors to both we surprised and impressed with the enthusiasm and talent of our young artists.

This year we’ve been fortunate enough to have a team of dedicated international volunteers who have added extra-curricular activities to the ROP program and have provided badly-needed medical support for our children, among other generous deeds. They have also been instrumental in helping spread the word of the ROP’s work around Rwanda and all over the world.

All of this and our year isn’t even over yet! In the final days of this year we will be seeing five of our boys graduate high school and six others graduating from their vocational training schools. These eleven boys came to into the ROP years ago because they had nowhere to go and nobody to take care of them. In one month they will leave with an education, the pride of going from a street child to a graduate, and a world of possibilities that didn’t exist for them only a few short years ago. Today a world full of opportunities is at their feet, not because of the ROP, but because of people like you keep the ROP alive.

Aside from those boys graduating, we will also be reintegrating, or reuniting, about five children back into their families. While we hope to see that each and every reintegration is a success, our social workers will be monitoring each child’s situation closely so the ROP can be sure each child we’ve returned is in a safe, stable environment and, most importantly, that he is attending school. This is the ultimate goal for our program for each and every one of our children, but only when the time and circumstances are right for it.

So as you can see the ROP continues to grow and we continue striving to provide the best education, comprehensive care and loving environment we can so our children can grow and thrive. But we cannot achieve our goals on our own. Being a small, growing organization we rely mostly on the generosity of individuals and small groups to fund our children’s program. While we are striving to find ways to generate our own income so that we may someday become self-sustaining, the truth is that we’re not there yet.

As we enter this holiday season I would like to ask you to think about making a donation to help support the children of the ROP. Many of you are already regular supporters, others have generously helped us at one time or another and some of you may know about our work but have yet to take the step of becoming an ROP supporter.

What I’d like to ask you is to consider making a donation to our program this Christmas season. The donations we collect as we reach the end of 2013 will play a crucial role for the outlook of the Rwandan Orphans Project in 2014 and will dictate what services we will be able to continue providing our children and what options we have for providing even better care and support to them in the coming year.

As you all know, we are a small program, and any amount you can give WILL make a difference. We know how to get the most out of each and every dollar, because we have to. I can promise you that 100% of your donation will find its way to Rwanda. Not a penny of it will go towards anything other than supporting the children in the ROP Center and the staff that provide them with the care, education and love they deserve.

So please, help the ROP reach this New Year with a sense of optimism. Choose to be part of something great that is truly changing the world, one amazing child at a time.

If you’d like to help please visit our donation page.

With love and appreciation,

Sean Jones
Executive Director
Kigali, Rwanda
www.rwandanorphansproject.org

Eggs Anyone?

Thanks to Pat, Jerry, Rose and so many others at the U.S. Embassy Kigali, Rwanda, the Rwandan Orphan’s Project (ROP) finally has a proper home for our chickens to produce eggs for our boys. Thank you all so very much for organizing the Eggz for Boyz fundraiser and for helping us improve the diet of our children!!!

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One Snapshot at a Time

Capturing their lives, one snapshot at a time
ROP Stories
Posted by Sean on September 16, 2013

Our boys love playing with cameras. Lend them a camera and they will run around the Center taking photos of anything and everything, filling up your memory card in no more than 20 minutes. To them photography was more about playing with a camera than it was about being creative and exploring the world through a lens. That all began to change when Amber Lucero contacted the Rwandan Orphans Project and offered to teach photography workshops to any boys who were interested, regardless of age or experience.

Amber has a background in photography and the visual arts, and is a staff member at San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts, or MOPA. She not only brought great enthusiasm for teaching our boys but also a wealth of creativity and a friendliness that led to our usually shy boys to bond with her almost immediately.

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Amber’s lessons started by teaching the boys the basics of composition; framing, lighting, and knowing what your subject is before you just start snapping away. Her lessons, while geared towards photography, were designed in a way that taught them shapes, colors, patterns and other basic academic principles without them even realizing it. Those early lessons were meant to lay the groundwork for the exploration of the boys’ creativity that would come later. And although they started off slowly, after a few weeks we began seeing them becoming more strategic with their shots.

Before long, even when Amber was not at the ROP, the boys would have cameras out, prospecting around our Center and its surroundings searching for interesting subjects to photograph and trying to take creative shots of themselves and their friends that were unlike the usual hip hop poses they used to always mimic from music videos they saw on TV.

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It’s been several months now since Amber’s first lesson, and it’s been truly remarkable what she has been able to teach our boys, as well as what they’ve been able to do with that knowledge. It’s also been a great way for us staff to see their lives in the Center from their perspectives. Now many of their photos are hanging up in our office. Soon others will be displayed at an exhibition here in Kigali and yet others will actually be displayed in an exhibition at MOPA in San Diego from October 19th to February 2nd. If you’re in the San Diego area during that time please visit MOPA and see their work for yourself!

Read complete story and see many more photos at ROP Stories

Fighting For Education

From Malala Yousafzai
London, UK

On 15 June fourteen girls were murdered in Pakistan simply because they wanted an education. Many people know my story but there are stories every day of children fighting for an education. The basic right to education is under attack around the world.

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We need change now and I need your help to achieve it.

You can help me and girls and boys across the world. We are asking the United Nations General Assembly to fund new teachers, schools, books and recommit to getting every girl and boy in school by December 2015.

This July 12th is my 16th birthday and I am personally delivering this petition to the United Nations Secretary General Bank Ki Moon.

I became a victim of terrorism after I spoke out in favour of education of girls. These innocent girls killed in Pakistan have nothing to do with politics and only wanted to empower themselves through education.

If we want to bring change, if we want progress, if we want development, if we want the education of girls, we should be united. We should not wait. We should do it now.

Sign Malala’s petition HERE

Films That Transform

Films That Transform

Kathy Barbini and Simon Weinberg at Big Boy Pictures have produced two films that are a must see for those who desire personal and communal peace and healing.
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Boys and Men Healing is a documentary about the impact the sexual abuse of boys has on both the individual and society, and the importance of healing and speaking out for male survivors to end the devastating effects.

The Healing Years, broke ground in the field of women’s issues and child sexual abuse prevention. The film has been broadcast on PBS stations nationwide, screened in international film festivals and leading conferences worldwide, and has become an acclaimed film in the field of child sexual abuse prevention for training and education.

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BIG VOICE PICTURES produces social issue documentaries that give voice to emerging and cutting-edge issues, with the intention of motivating discussion, creating change, and offering new insights and hope for individuals, families, and communities through strategic national outreach campaigns and collaboration with communities and organizations. Their films have received worldwide distribution and recognition.

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