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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.

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Every Child Deserves Care

Because every child deserves care, love and hope.
From The Rwandan Orphan’s Project

The ROP is an orphanage and a center for street children located just outside of Kigali, Rwanda. We provide housing, clothing, food, health care, education and many other needs to nearly 100 vulnerable children from around Rwanda. We are able to provide these needs solely through the donations of individuals like you. The ROP has no corporate or foundational support and relies on the charity of ordinary citizens to achieve our goal of providing a safe place for children, free from desperation and the dangers of life on the streets.

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At the ROP we believe that education is our children’s best hope of escaping the strong grip of poverty. Because of this all of our children are either enrolled in our in-house catch-up school or go to secondary or vocational schools around Rwanda. We feel all children, regardless of the hardships they may have endured in the past, deserve a chance to make something of themselves.

Being a small, privately funded charitable organization we struggle every month to raise the necessary funds to provide for our boys. There are many ways you can help, detailed in our How You Can Help section.

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

Letter From Yoko

ye13_rc_yokoLetter From Yoko

John wrote, “You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.”

That’s what being part of Amnesty International means for me. We are a worldwide movement of dreamers and activists — who are shining a light of hope for those imprisoned for their beliefs.

Join me and make a donation to Amnesty International. Your gift will support our work freeing individuals who are imprisoned only for having the courage to speak, to demonstrate, and to express the thoughts that you and I do freely every day.

Because the need is so great, several leading Amnesty supporters have agreed to match any contribution you make now through December 31.

As I write this, the unjustly imprisoned are suffering behind bars.

Right now, a Tibetan filmmaker — Dhondup Wangchen — is languishing in a Chinese prison simply because he made a film that explores the views of Tibetan people toward the Beijing Olympics and the Dalai Lama.

After a secret trial, he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for “subversion of state power” and has reportedly been tortured.

Amnesty is pressuring the Chinese government to release Wangchen, investigate the allegations of torture to bring those responsible to justice.

Will you help Amnesty be a light for prisoners like Wangchen? Make a donation that will go twice as far.

Because of people like you, Amnesty International is a tenacious, tireless advocate for humanity. There is no greater champion for prisoners of conscience and no stronger force for human rights.

Together we can not only imagine, but also build a more just, more peaceful world.

You have my deepest gratitude for your commitment to human rights.

In Peace,

Yoko Ono
ARTIST & HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST
AIUSA

Super Typhoon Haiyan

Super Typhoon Haiyan

I’m writing you from the Philippines where I’m managing CARE’s ongoing response to Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Relief Efforts Continue After Typhoon Haiyan's DestructionThe situation we’re dealing with on the ground is unlike any I’ve ever experienced in my 20 plus years as an emergency response specialist.

My team of seasoned veterans and I delivered life-saving aid after the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Haiti earthquake of 2010, and the drought-stricken Horn of Africa in 2011.

haiyan-e4-debrisBut none of those disastrous events were as challenging as this one. The remoteness, flooding and debris everywhere in the affected areas means that simple journeys can take days. The widespread magnitude of the damage means limited to no access by land or air and no lines of communication or electricity up and running.

There are pictures below, but they don’t truly capture the experience on the ground: the smell, the complete destruction in every direction you look, the heavy rain, the continuous exhaustion because there is nowhere for anyone to sleep, debris everywhere. And – worst of all – the desperate look in the eyes of survivors.

They’re hungry and they’ve been hungry for days. The food is just gone, picked clean.

It’s truly awful. We need your help. You can help us put food, shelter, and necessities in the hands of Filipinos and others in need.

Within the next 48 hours, we’ll be distributing food to thousands of families outside of Ormac City. Frankly, it’s frustrating that we can’t get supplies to more survivors more quickly. We plan to help an initial 150,000 storm survivors with the support of donors like you. Food and shelter are our current priorities.

Coordinating the response to Super Typhoon Haiyan has been so much more challenging than Haiti. It’s not even that the weather is horrible or that today’s office/sleeping space lost its roof and flooded out.

Communication during emergency response is critical, but here the electricity is down, the phone lines aren’t working, there is no internet. Thank goodness for our satellite phones.

In Haiti, communication was back up very quickly. And the earthquake was in a small area, so once the rubble was cleared, it was easy to drive and deliver aid. We could get everywhere affected in two or three hours. The airport was up and functioning quickly, so supplies could be brought by air, or road from the Dominican Republic.

Here in the Philippines, the disaster is spread over several islands. It takes days to get to places – not only for relief items, but for staff. You have to take a boat, and then a car, and the road hasn’t been cleared. The government and international community are working to clear the roads and open the airport, but it is taking time.

Once it does, we know what we need to do to help. I only hope you’ll be there during this critical time to support our response. Donate to CARE right away to help with disaster relief efforts in the Philippines and other places impacted by crisis and poverty.

Sincerely,

David Gazashvili
CARE Emergency Team Leader

The Real Story About Syria

The Real Story About Syria

The politics around Syria’s civil war are complex, but the reason to care about Syria’s millions of refugees is simple – there is very real suffering happening with our fellow humans. Real people like you and me whose lives have been up-ended. Millions of people who have done nothing to bring this upon themselves, who are struggling to survive, and who may never be able to return home.

With or without military intervention, the flood of Syrians displaced by the conflict, both within Syria and as refugees in neighboring countries, will continue.

All the news about weapons, governmental bodies, and military actions ignores the truly massive humanitarian crisis that continues to dramatically unfold.

This is 12-year-old Amina and 7-year-old Sahed with their grandmother, 80-year-old Amina. “I miss my friends from my old school the most. I don’t know what has happened to them,” says young Amina. “My wish is to be able to see again properly,” says her grandmother, 80-year-old Amina, of her failing eyesight, “and see Syria again.”

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CARE is helping refugees in Jordan and Lebanon and people affected by the crisis in Syria. As the crisis escalates, we are also starting to work in Egypt and Yemen. The more than 8 million people affected by this disaster are looking to us to help by providing basic life saving support, such as: food, shelter, clean water, medicine and medical care, and the means to stay warm when winter approaches.

Please give what you can today to help those fleeing the violence in Syria, and others caught in the crosshairs of political unrest around the world.

I believe that – as human beings, confronted with the suffering and needs of others – you and I can and must do something to help. If you suddenly lost your home, wouldn’t you want to know that someone cared enough to reach out and support you to maintain your dignity while getting you through an unimaginably difficult time? I know I would.

Together we can make a difference to help each other in times of need. Please give what you can today.

As you listen to the radio and scan the headlines, keep the faces of the refugees above in your thoughts. They are the real story. And they need our support.

With greatest hope,

Holly Solberg
Director of Emergency and Humanitarian Assistance, CARE

On the Ground In Syria

On the Ground In Syria

For two and a half years, courageous Amnesty researchers — like Donatella Rovera — have been on the ground in Syria and neighboring countries investigating and reporting war crimes and other violations against Syrian families. What she and her team have documented there is horrific.

A mother’s three sons dragged outside, shot dead, and then set on fire for her to watch. Cluster bombs tearing into small children playing in an alley. Militias opening fire on peaceful demonstrators.

Now our research teams — backed up by the innovative use of satellite imagery — are gathering information of a heinous attack, apparently using chemical weapons, that killed scores of people, including children.

Now that the international community’s attention is focused on Syria, we must ensure that no more civilian lives are lost and that those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity are brought to justice.

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Your donation to Amnesty helps us deploy researchers to document abuses and demand justice for the forgotten and the suffering. Support this work by making a monthly donation to Amnesty International today. For a short time, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar.

During recent investigations in Syria, Donatella met 20-year-old Noura in a field hospital, a temporary clinic created in secret to protect victims and medical staff from retaliatory arrest and torture.

Noura was injured in a cluster bomb attack. Cluster bombs inflict massive damage by detonating in mid-air and releasing hundreds of “bomblets.”

Donatella, as well as all of us from Amnesty, is committed to telling the world their story, and demanding action from the international community.

When you become a member of Amnesty, your donation helps put expert researchers — like Donatella — on the ground in places like Syria, where the world’s attention is desperately needed.

The human rights crimes in Syria have been called a “moral obscenity” that should “shock the conscience of the world.”

As human rights defenders, you and I share an urgent responsibility to help bring those responsible to justice. We must mobilize to stop further atrocities against the Syrian people.

Please, don’t delay. Support our human rights investigators. Donate now.

Sincerely,
Frank Jannuzi
DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA

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