More than 400 former street children were hosted to a Christmas party by Centre Les Enfants de Dieu.
The event took place last week in Ndera Sector, Gasabo District.
The centre hosts former street children transitioning back to normal life.
Vanessa Viscara, a volunteer teacher for sports and English at the school, hailed the event as one that gives the children renewed hope and empowers them to feel like others.
Christiane Umuhire, director of family promotion and child protection at Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, urged the parents who attended the event to be responsible and avoid a big number of children who may end up on the streets.
“Poverty is never an excuse to let your child go on the streets. There are many parents who are poor but who have managed to keep their children at home and share the little they have. The problem cannot be solved by another problem. Therefore, street children are not a solution to the poverty you have,” she said.
Umuhire emphasised that irresponsibility of the parents is a crime punishable by the state laws.
Jeanette Daria Uwamahoro, the gender and family promotion officer for Gasabo District, urged the students to be more disciplined and be hopeful in whatever they do despite their past.
Charles Hazabintwari, the project coordinator at Les enfant de Dieu, said more than 450 street children had been rehabilitated and sent back to their homes.
“As an organisation, we thought that education for the street kids and Christmas celebrations are very fundamental in changing children’s lives and mindsets than any other forceful methods that can be used to remove them from the street,” he said.
Claudette mukobwajana, a parent with children at the school, said the centre has helped much in transforming and rehabilitating their children.
“The school acted like family because it helped much in nurturing my child. He used to take drugs, but here he is no longer like before,” she said
The event also featured traditional dances, plays and gymnastics.
Les Enfants de Dieu is a community-based non-profit children centre that started operations 2007 and currently shelters about 85 former street children, where they receive basic needs, education and vocational training, among others.