Hello from Rwanda. We’ve had a great few months at the ROP, and we wanted to share some of our latest news with you. First off, a truly wonderful development – eight of our secondary school graduates performed so well on their national exams that they have been awarded government scholarships to university, bringing the total number of ROP grads who have earned government scholarships in the last five years to thirteen! As you can imagine, all of us at the ROP are extremely proud of their achievement. Our students are making the most of their opportunities, and we are extremely grateful to you for supporting their journey from the streets to higher education. Thank you!
We are also happy to let you know that we are now well settled into our new location in Rwanda’s Eastern Province. We still have much to do to fix up our new home, but we’ve made great strides already. In February, we built a new set of toilets. More recently, with the support of Norwegian charity Metamorfose, we constructed a brand new, open-air kitchen with eco-friendly stoves that reduce our use of firewood and create significantly less pollution than traditional wood-burning stoves.
Our new kitchen and toilet facilities
Thanks to a generous grant from the KLM charity Wings of Support, we are also making significant renovations to the children’s dormitory that will provide them with more light, ventilation and comfort than they ever had before.
Dormitories prior to renovations
Renovations are 80% complete
Back in February, we opened our primary school to serve the ROP children and our new community in Rwamagana. In addition to our 70 boys, we have also admitted 70 girls and 50 boys from our local community’s poorest families. This is more students than we have ever had before, and it’s possible thanks to the much larger and improved school facilities we now have. We are also proud to have already developed a good reputation amongst our local community and the local government. Having moved from the city of Kigali to a much more rural area, we quickly realized that our new pupils haven’t had the exposure to lessons on important topics like gender equality that the ROP children have. This gives us the opportunity to educate these children on such things so ROP can have an even broader impact on our community.
ROP boys teaching the outside students to include the girls in sports and activities
All of these achievements are possible thanks to our wonderful supporters – people like you – who generously give throughout the year to help the Rwandan Orphans Project continue our mission of not only caring for former street children, but doing our part to help Rwanda’s vulnerable people in any way we can. From all of us at the ROP, we would like to once again say THANK YOU for your support!
From its creation, our center has been called the Rwandan Orphans Project, Center for Street Children. However, the Rwandan government recently informed all organizations that the words “orphan” and “project” were no longer allowed to be used in titles and instructed all organizations using such words to change their names. We asked the children to choose a new name for their center and after some discussion they came up with the name Imizi Children’s Center. Imizi is a Kinyarwanda word meaning “roots of a tree”, and the children felt like the name was representative of the center’s role in helping them grow. The children also said they sometimes felt embarrassed telling people that they lived at an “Orphans Project” and preferred the term “Children’s Center”. The staff enthusiastically accepted their choice, so that is now the name of our new home here in Rwanda. Don’t worry, the organization you are supporting is still called the Rwandan Orphans Project, both in the US and the UK. Rather, it is just the name of the center in Rwanda that has changed, and we now say that the ROP is supporting the children of the Imizi Children’s Center.
Our new Imizi sign We are gearing up for our annual fundraiser in San Diego, which will take place at the beautiful Museum of Photographic Arts on May 13th. It promises to be a great night and we hope to see many of you there. For more information or to buy tickets, please visit www.rwandanorphansproject.org.
Thanks again for supporting the ROP!