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!!!
Excerpt from Amakuru! – News from the Rwandan Orphans Project.
Sadly young Patrick has had to endure very difficult times at a very young age. Patrick was born in the town of Gitarama to two poor teenage parents. Unable to make any money in Gitarama Patrick’s father left for Kigali in hopes of finding a job. Despite the fact that he promised to send money back to the family, Patrick’s mother felt abandoned and remarried shortly after he left. The new stepfather didn’t like Patrick simply because he was another man’s son, so he began verbally abusing him and making him perform labor no three year old should do. This abuse forced young Patrick to the streets, where he felt safer than in his own home. Occasionally he would try sneaking into his home late at night when his stepfather was asleep and running away early in the morning before he woke up. Patrick lived like this for two years, begging for food and shelter on the streets near his own home.
One day he decided to go to Kigali to look for his father. A neighbour of his mother brought him there but they could not find him. He decided to stay in Kigali anyway, where he thought it would be easier to survive on the streets. Only seven years old, Patrick begged and slept in between buildings in an area called Kanombe for about two years before a local woman found him and brought him home to stay with her family. He stayed there for a short time before her husband tired of having another child to support that wasn’t his own and chased Patrick out. Alone again for the second time in his life, Patrick went back to the streets. A few weeks later he was found by the ROP supervisor, Jean de Dieu, who offered to bring him to the ROP Center.
Today little Patrick is going to school for the first time in life, and he’s settled in with the other young boys who live at the ROP. His role model is the ROP’s head teacher, Sandrine, and because of her influence he says that someday he wants to teach children who lived on the streets. He says that when he grows up he wants to have a big family and he will love them and protect them, unlike his mother who he feels abandoned him when he needed her most.
If you can help out a wee bit, please support Patrick and other children at The Rwandan Orphan’s Project.
Excerpt from Amakuru! News from the Rwandan Orphans Project. Written by Sean Jones and Jenny Clover.
Back To School
Notebooks and pencils in hand, the children of the Rwandan Orphans Project began the 2011 school year in various schools around Rwanda.
Most of the children – those in primary school and attending the ROP’s education catch-up program, stay in the Center where our five teachers give their lessons in kinyarwanda and English. This year the ROP is also providing education for about 25 secondary school students, most of whom attend a nearby school while a handful of others attend various academies around Rwanda.
The 2010 school year was a large success for the ROP. Many of our secondary school students passed their National Exams with the honor of Distinction and High Distinction, making them eligible for government scholarships and entrance into well respected schools. Our catch-up program had the honor of having the only students in the Nyarugunga Sector who reached High Distinction in the Primary 6 National Exams. This achievement is due in no small part to the amazing work of our teachers, who not only have the laborious task of teaching dozens of students but also play the roles of mentor, parent and disciplinarian to our ex-street children. The wonderful results attained by of all of our students is a testimony to their recognition that education is their way to break free from the cycle of poverty and have a successful future for themselves.
Aside from academics, the ROP is also sponsoring vocational training for ten young adults from the Center. These are teenagers who fell too far behind in their education and have struggled academically. But they refuse to give up and are working hard in these programs so they can learn trades and skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Some of them are learning mechanics, others hotel management, and yet others have gone into carpentry and even forestry. These vocational programs, along with our support for those still in school, allow the ROP to follow through on the promise that we make to all of our children to support their education as long as they are willing to work hard themselves all the way to the end. We are not only raising children, but future citizens and potential leaders of Rwanda.
Donations can be made to the:
Rwandan Orphans Project
4671 Cass Street
San Diego, CA 92109
or online at Rwandan Orphans Project.
Written by Jenny Clover at the ROP Center for Street Children in Rwanda for ROP Stories.
Photo: Amusa (on right), with his best friend Frank.
Amusa is one of our youngest boys, aged around five we think. Like so many of the boys, we don’t know his real age or when his birthday is. All we know is that his parents are dead and he is on his own. All the rest is guess work based on his size and little snippets he can remember. Although we can’t even trust his memory: when he first arrived he told us that his parents died in the 1994 genocide, a story he probably adopted from older street children he met of whom this was true.
The Director of our Rwandan Orphans Project Centre, Celestin, found Amusa living under a truck in an area of Kigali where long-haul drivers stop to rest. It’s difficult to describe you Amusa’s tiny frame and wide-eyed innocence, but if you can imagine any five year old you might know living under a truck and fending for themselves every day, you will probably realise how unbearable it is to think of little Amusa doing this.
Amusa wasn’t completely alone when we found him, he shared his life on the streets with two close comrades: Frank and Saidi, both aged around six and now also living at the Centre. The three of them have a closeness that you don’t see amongst young children very often, and it can only be because of what they must have been through together. They are fiercely loyal and fight for each other when they feel there has been an injustice. An incident at the Centre which meant Amusa missed lunch and was bought a banana, saw him insist on sharing it with his friends.
Now safely away from the streets and with three regular meals a day guaranteed to him, Amusa seems happy. But he is still a young child and finds it difficult to accept that he has no idea what happened to his parents, except that they are dead. Soon after he joined our Centre, Amusa had a fight with another boy and became hysterical afterward. He kept crying out that he wanted his mum. He knew, as we did, that she is dead but that didn’t stop him wanting her. We will never be able to ease that pain but we can go some way towards helping Amusa have a chance at a successful future.