Street Children's Ministry in Kigali - November 2015 Update
Dear friends of Rwandan children,
In July 2015 we shared the story of Alfred, a young man whose life has been changed by CPAJ. Recently, an Outreach team visited the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda and CPAJ in Kigali. We were amazed at its leadership and its ministry to others, like Alfred, all over the country. We saw firsthand its impact on street children in particular. There are currently 40 residents at this center.
If you are new to this ministry, here is the background. The center was started by the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda in 1998, after the Genocide in 1994, in response to the needs of the many young people who were left without parents. Some of the parents were involved in the Genocide and imprisoned; others fled the country or had died. The children were left with nowhere to go. They lived in the streets and went to the dumpsters to look for food. The church wanted to do something to help these children. They purchased land near the dumpsters to reach out to these children and take care of them. In the beginning they put up tents for the children to be fed and have a place to sleep. Then they built small buildings for dorms. Even though the Genocide ended 21 years ago, there have been other circumstances that have left children homeless, including poverty which causes so many complications in families today. Because of its small size, the center houses only boys. Girls are referred to another center, but they have access to the vocational training offered at CPAJ.
The center employs social workers to counsel the children, who are almost always back in their school environment within three months of their admission. This is a transition center, not a school and not an orphanage. The center works with family members of the children to get them back into the family by teaching them how to live together and look ahead to the future. They also keep in touch with the children to ensure that they are in a good family environment and that they are doing well.
In addition, the center has a vocational program for children who cannot afford school. Currently, 140 older children participate in various vocational programs. The younger children engage in outdoor activities, such as games, sports, singing and dancing. We spent a delightful morning touring the grounds of the center and visiting the multipurpose hall, which has been under construction for 14 years. After the death of its primary donor, construction ceased for years. Then, The Outreach Foundation and U.S. Presbyterians picked up the challenge. The building now looks great and is a big encouragement to the center as it offers a place of worship for the children, as well as a place for games, and will be rented out for special occasions to help generate income. The work that remains to be done to the building includes doors, floors and equipment which will cost an additional $20,000.
There is no doubt that our visit encouraged the children, but we were also encouraged by their love and determination to succeed. They sang Sitting at the Foot of the King and Jesus Loved Me First before I Even Knew Him under a pavilion and were simply adorable. Outreach’s Executive Director Rob Weingartner encouraged the boys telling them that they are, “growing into the young men that God created them to be." Heidi Meadows gave a testimony about growing up with abusive parents, particularly her dad. She told them of her determination to succeed through education, and now she is a happy mother with a very fulfilling career. She encouraged them to overcome obstacles as they face life challenges. She was, "glad that they had a safe and happy place to grow up and meet their dreams."
Always grateful for your partnership,
The Outreach Foundation
Amount needed in 2015/2016
The Outreach Foundation seeks to raise at least $20,000 for the completion of the multipurpose hall and $10,000 for scholarships and medical assistance for the children of CPAJ. To make a donation, click the Donate Now link in the sidebar.
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