Given the history of Rwanda, many homes in the countryside are poverty stricken. But the most victims to feel the impact of poverty are the children. This situation leaves a lot of needs in the lives of these young ones.
Biggest among the needs is Education and decent homes to live in.
Many NGO’s and even the government itself have been working very hard to ensure that children in villages go to school and also encourage the people in villages to form cooperatives as a way of elevating their lives.
Among the NGO’s is Compassion International a humanitarian Christian Organisation that helps needy children around the world in various aspects which include providing them education and general welfare through sponsors.
A visit to Busanza Pentecostal church a centre where the children who are sponsored by this organisation gather every Saturday for extra learning shows how the children’s educational needs have been taken with extra care.
Looking at the smiling faces of these young ones, gives you the conviction that actually these children have a bright future because everyone among them looks forward to nothing but doing better in school.
“Education is something that we emphasize to these children at every stage, every child knows that the biggest thing that we and their sponsors want from them is to study hard,” says Dr. Samuel Rugambage who is the country director of Compassion International.
According to Rugambage, Compassion Rwanda has two programs through which it caters for the needy children.
The first programme is the development program where they look for needy children between 4-9 years and get sponsors for them.
In this program, a child is catered for in four aspects. These are; the spiritual aspect where they teach children to be responsible and fulfilled Christian adults, the cognitive aspect where every child who is under compassion must go to school, the health aspect where a child is assured of medical treatment, and the economic aspect where the children and their parents are involved in the income generating projects like live stock rearing.
The income generating projects have benefited both the children and their families hence releasing them from poverty and making them self reliant.
Rugambage adds that once a child gets into the hands of compassion, their lives change because they are taught to focus on their future.
Compassion Rwanda caters for 48, 867 children around the country but the numbers keep on increasing as more sponsors get in.
According to officials in compassion, needy children are identified by help of the local leaders and churches. After identifying them they get sponsors.
“When a child gets a sponsor, we make sure that he starts school as soon as he is the right age. The child is provided with school fees and all scholastic materials until he or she finishes High school,” says Rugambage.
“Those who fail to proceed to university are enrolled in vocational training schools where they get skills to help them in their future.”
Students who get good grades proceed to University under their second programme called the Leadership Development Programme (LDP).
Caroline Uwamwiza 8 years old, one of the children sponsored by compassion says that she is so happy because she writes to her sponsor and the sponsor responds to her regularly. She even says that she has a photo of her sponsor which makes her feel like they know one another despite not having ever met.
According to officials, some of the children also have the chance to be visited by their sponsors once a year. These sponsors can even sometimes go an extra mile by setting up good homes for the children if they find them in bad situations.
The efforts of helping children of Rwanda get a meaningful future should however not be left to NGOs and the government only, but individual persons can also play their role by helping out those who are needy to make the world a better place for them to live.