Accepting an invitation from individuals conducting humanitarian projects in Rwanda, I spent three days in the capitol, Kigali, visiting many hospitals, rehabilitation centers, Aids orphanages, and homeless shelters in the surrounding towns and villages.
The 1994 genocide of close to one million people in this tiny country has created severs and long-standing problems. It has left behind several thousand orphaned children who have found only shelter under the sky. These orphans, commonly known as street children, are babies born at the time of the massacre who have grown up in the streets, under conditions unhealthy for them as well as their society. With little food, scanty clothes, no education, and constant exposure to life on the streets, the future of these children seems bleak and hopeless. Considered a nuisance by society, many of them have resorted to inhaling intoxicating glue and stealing to survive. Although the government is now making an effort to take care of these children, many still remain on the streets.
My host family on this trip, who owns the SULFA Rwanda Corporation, has also made an effort to provide basic needs for these children. They have started a shelter called “Enfants de Dieu” (God’s Children), which provides food, clothing, and education for a small number of these children. During my visit I heard that despite these efforts there are many more children who need assistance. The existing facilities are simply inadequate to provide for their needs.
As I met these beautiful children struggling to change their lives, I was inspired to help them. I decided to begin a project to build a home to shelter 62 of these street children. The project is now underway. The architect and engineers involved with the project have promised me completion of the building before my next visit to Rwanda, scheduled for October 2003. Of course, whatever support you can provide us will be greatly appreciated. We do need your help.