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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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Paid Off Land & Top of Class

Greetings from Rwanda!

We hope you are having a great summer! There’s been a lot going on around the Rwandan Orphans Project’s Imizi Children’s Center, so we wanted to tell you what we’ve been up to since our last update.

The biggest and best news is the fact that we have been able to fully pay off our new land. That’s right, back in May we were able to make the final payment on our new home, and we are currently in the process of finalizing the paperwork that will secure the property, and our future, for many years to come. 

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When the ROP started out in an abandoned industrial warehouse the idea of having our own permanent home was nothing more than a dream. In 2010 we were able to move to a better location, but there we had to pay rent, which was a significant burden on our budget each and every year. Today we have finally realized our goal of securing a permanent facility for our children’s program, and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Another great achievement happened just last Friday when one of our graduates, Jean, graduated from the National University of Rwanda having earned himself a bachelor’s degree. Even more impressive was the fact that he graduated FIRST IN HIS ENTIRE CLASS! That is no small feat at all, especially considering he graduated with nearly 2,000 other students.

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Jean is a survivor of the 1994 Genocide, the tragedy that saw approximately 800,000 Rwandans killed, including his own parents and siblings. He is the sole survivor of his family, and the physical and mental scars were never easy for him to overcome. After losing his family he ended up surviving on his own on the streets of Kigali until, at age 12, he found the ROP. No student worked harder in the classroom and when Jean wasn’t in class, washing his clothes or doing other chores his nose would be buried in any book he could get his hands on. The results of his commitment to aspire to a better life combined with the opportunities ROP was able to give him are now celebrated by us all.

When speaking to our boys at his party he told them, “I attended classes with rich kids and kids who had ‘normal’ families. Many of them doubted me and discouraged me because, in their eyes, having been a street boy, I could never hope to achieve anything. First I proved them wrong by being elected class president in my second year. Many still doubted me, so I showed them by becoming the best student in the entire school. Now they can’t doubt me. Never let anyone doubt you because of where you came from. The only one who can stop you doing great things is yourself”.

Please support the Rwandan Orphans Project’s Imizi Children’s Center.

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.

Smiling in Rwanda

Brighter smiles with a little help from some friends
ROP Stories
Posted on February 20, 2014 by Sean

Taking care of the health of 100 boys is no cheap and easy task, and looking out for their dental health is no exception. Lucky for us we now have some help. Thanks to Human Resources for Health, an organization that pairs international health experts with Rwandan health institutions in order to improve their level of care, the boys of the Rwandan Orphans Project have been getting free cleanings and screenings as well as reduced cost dental treatment.

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Read entire story and see more photos at ROP Stories.

Donate to Rwandan Orphan’s Project.

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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Cousins In Rwanda

Cousins In Rwanda

Once, when we were visiting our friends in Rwanda at the Rwandan Orphan’s Project, we decided to also take a trip up to the north, near the border with The Congo, and visit our cousins in the rainforest – better known as gorillas. The families we met were so similar to our own human family, that there were times it was difficult to tell if their was much difference. It turns out gorillas have 97% of the same DNA as humans, or vice-a-verse.

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