How I Got Involved

Hi! My name is Bre, and I am a mom of three. My family and I live in Rwanda, Africa! It is an adventure every day, I love it here and I love my beautiful American/Rwanda family. My story is long and I will save it for another day... right now I would like to tell you about the beginning of an amazing adventure I just started!! 

While visiting with an old friend, Emile Kayitare, I asked what new things he was up to and after an nice, exciting list he got around to telling me about this amazing NGO dream of his! The best part is that he was already working on putting it into action! The more he told me to more excited I got and knew I had to be involved in some way. He gave me a document telling more detail of all that happened so far. I read it the next day and knew how I wanted to be involved. However, before I get to that part I would like to backup and tell you his whole experience so you will better understand my choice of involvement!!

This portion of the story is told from his point of view because it is his story to tell!

The Journey

In April this year, during corona lockdown, my older brother Gilbert happened to pass by Gacungiro and saw many people begging and from their faces he could see they were very hungry and struggling, He felt bad not being able to help them all. When he reached home, he replayed the situation and we were moved as well but knew we could not help them all. However, I was prompted to go there and visit them myself and that is just what I did.

I remember that first visit well! In that exact location I found many hungry adult individuals but two specifically caught my eye because they were so sick. I gave them money to go to the hospital and get treated. After, I visited the local youth leader and made plans to go again with him and see what could be done.

The next day we went and, on our way, we saw a group of children and could not pass them by. We stopped and talked to them and asked their story, why they were here and where they were living. They told us so much and showed us where they were living.

These are the children we saw on that first visit

This is where and how they were sleeping

During the day they lived in this area

As shown in these pictures, they live and sleep in a very unsafe and unsanitary place. It is in the middle of a swamp. They are surrounded by stagnant water and dirt constantly. You can imagine how terrible every night must be… the swamp… the cold wet ground… mosquitoes biting all night long. They huddle together at night on their carboard boxes covered with people’s trash to try to stay warm. How do they even survive?

We chatted with them and asked about their families and what brought them into this situation. One little boy, Bruno, only 10 years old, told us his mother is in prison, his father is a drunk and neither provide food for their family. After the mother was imprisoned the father took the kids and himself to stay with his mother. Life was hard because she didn’t have a job either, plus, Bruno’s father had a tendency to beat them if they were home and hungry. So, he and his three sisters (Diane, Fiette and Sifa) ran away from home. However, he mentioned the girls are not staying in the same location as all these boys but still on the street with other girls.

Immediately I was so sad to hear about the girls. It is so dangerous for girls to live and sleep on the street. We know many people will take advantage and rape the girls so we wanted to find them and help them.

We eventually made our way to the adults we had planned to visit but realized they were strong enough and our attention was needed to focus on finding the girls and helping the boys we met that day.

During the next week or so I visited with the local leaders to see if we could get money to buy food for the boys. With corona going on they had no additional money for this and I knew the boys needed food so I tried my best to figure out how to feed them. I spoke with my local religious leader and asked if there was any money we could use to buy food for the boys and luckily they had a little left over from a donation given recently by some members in the USA to help with Rwandan members in need because of corona. They agreed to give us some money, plus a few other local members heard and wanted to donate too. We bought food and took it to the boys. They were extremely grateful!


This is the day we brought them food

I knew the girls needed us too but I still didn’t know where they were. We asked around but no luck yet.

It was now the first week of May and three days after taking the boys food I visited again. It was early afternoon and such a wonderful site to see when I arrived. The boys were helping each prepare food, wash clothes, bath and I realized they had a leader. His name is Safari! He is a bit older (around 30 years old) but so kind and loving. He has become like a father to these boys. He helps bath the little ones, cooks for them and teaches all of them to work together. God has blessed these boys with an amazing, loving leader.

Some of these boys are very young, some have been abandoned, some have parents in prison and some are orphans. All of them need Safari and the care he gives them. He was actually a street kid himself years ago. As he grew, he decided he would stay that there and continue to help younger street kids. He doesn’t want to ever leave them because he loves them and enjoys caring for them.



This is the boys living and helping each other perform chores

The water in these pictures is the water they use to drink, cook, bath and wash clothes. This water alone can cause serious illness for these little boys. They are exposed to so many dangers it is a miracle they are still all alive.

During all this I was actively looking for the girls. It was tough… I got local leaders involved and eventually found them. We also worked to find their families and reunite them with their kids. We were able to reunite all the children with some relative in their family if not their actual parents. The government had them sign contracts saying they would keep the children at home and not send them away. However, there was too many underlying issues and eventually, around the first of June, the kids made their way back to the street.

After seeing this entire process, I realized we needed to help in a different way. But we needed to help the most vulnerable ones because, lets be honest, we don’t have any means to help them at all. However, I believe if we try to do something good and give even a little, more will come.

The following are the girls and families I am focusing my efforts on currently by supplementing their family’s food, providing clothes for the children and reusable sanitary napkins and education and sowing instruction for all within the home.

Soleil Irakoze

She is 14 years old and from a very poor family. She is interested in sewing and enjoying learning that trade through our NGO. She is staying with her family.


Cesella Iriza

She is 13 years old and been a street kid for a very long time, She too enjoys sewing and learning that trade. She is staying with a family of a friend.


Shakila Irasubiza

She is 11 years old and from the street. She is interested in hair dressing, knitting, sewing and weaving. She is staying with a member of our NGO.


Bruno Gatete

He is 10 years old and from a very poor family. He is very interested in going to school. He is staying with his grandmother.


Sifa Iradukunda

She is 8 years old and Bruno’s little sister. She is also interested in education and going to school. She is staying with her grandmother.


Diane Uwase

She is 14 years old and interested in sewing and carpet making. She is learning to sew through the NGO and is struggling to find a place she feels safe to stay in. She does not want to stay with her family.

 

Fiette Ikimana

She is 12 years old and interested in sewing. She is staying wherever her sister Diane stays.


Chance Mumararungu

She is 15 years old and interested in learning to sow. She was left when her family relocated to Uganda. We are working on finding her a place to stay.

This is Emile, my friend and Founder/CEO of Empower the Future NGO! He is amazing and loves doing good to help others!

This story just gets me every time! And Seeing these kid's faces breaks my heart knowing what they are going through. I just want to give each one a hug and take them home with me. But since that is not possible I am asking you all to help us! We have a GO FUND ME and this is the link- gf.me/u/yyypxw

Please help us if you can!




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