Orphans and Vulnerable Children – Rwanda

Shelter and food are provided by for orphans by the non-profit, OVC-Rwanda, in Kigali.

Shelter and food are provided for orphans by the non-profit, OVC-Rwanda, in Kigali.


There are an estimated 860,000 orphans in Rwanda, as last reported by unicef.  The 1994 genocide, AIDS, and hard living conditions account for much of that number.   Forty-five of them, from the streets of Kigali, Rwanda, are fortunate to receive even minimal care, in an orphanage run by the nonprofit,  OVC Rwanda.

In the shadow of the downtown business center, overlooking a slum area of Kigali,  the orphanage is in a desperate state of disrepair.  It’s founders and community members are unable to raise appropriate funds to update the structure beyond four walls and a roof, supply needed school books, and at times provide enough food for the children.

At the top of the hill, Kigali city center is prominent.

At the top of the hill, Kigali city center is prominent.

Small rooms with mattresses that are no more than decaying pieces of old foam with ragged sheets, are the sleeping provisions for 5-6 children each.  The girls live on one side of the faded blue structure, and the boys on the other.

Three girls sleep together on the bottom of a small bunk bed.

Three girls sleep together on the bottom of a small bunk bed.

Too few rooms mean some must sleep in hallways.   The dining area has no table or chairs.  The only furniture is a set of bunks in two of the girls’ rooms.

A nook at the end of a hallway is the sleeping space for two children.

A nook at the end of a hallway is the sleeping space for two children.

Daytime provides the only chance for privacy.  When most of the kids are outside playing or doing choirs,  an empty bed can be enjoyed for reading or a nap.

A rare moment alone in bed affords time for a nap for this young girl.

A rare moment alone in bed affords time for a nap.

OVC-Rwanda Orphanage, Kigali, Rwanda,Almost all of rural Rwanda, and many of the households in the capital city of Kigali, have no running water or electricity.  At the orphanage, water must be carried up a steep hill from the valley floor, usually  in 5, or 20 liter jerry cans.   With one liter of water weighing one kilogram, or approximately 2.2 pounds,  it makes for a heavy haul.  No running water also means no plumbing.  The toilet is a small out house in the back of the facility.

If there’s any light at the night,  it comes from a kerosene lamp – a primary source of indoor pollution and respiratory problems in developing countries. Money for lantern fuel, however, is low on the priority list so the orphanage is dark most of the time.

Forty-four other children have been placed in foster homes, yet they  must come to the orphanage for food.  Their hosts cannot afford to feed them.

This is a case of the poor taking care of the poor;  a dedicated community of people with precious little who are determined to keep kids off the streets.

OVC-Rwanda Orphanage, Kigali, Rwanda,The orphanage and its children are a testament to the resilience, and strength of the human spirit.  In a country still recovering from the worst genocide since the holocaust, where money is scarce and resources limited, they are grateful to have a strong  honest government to ensure conditions of safety.  Rwanda has a motto that she lives up to:  “Investment yes.  Corruption no.”

OVC -Rwanda was founded in 1995  on the initiative of Emmanuel Uwamahoro, himself an orphan who was raised by nuns from the age of 9.  With his co-founder, help from the surrounding community, and a small amount of funds from other nonprofit foundations,  Emmanuel is doing all he can to keep children off the street, provide them with food, shelter, and access to health care and education, and give them the best chance possible to be able to provide for themselves, now and into the future.

Cofounders and children pose for a photo in front of the orphanage.

Emmanuel Uwamahoro (yellow shirt) and co-founder, with children from the orphanage.

Emmanuel’s top priority is searching for emergency assistance to rehabilitate the orphanage.  He dreams of a larger more functional facility on a bigger site, and envisions strong economic, social, and cultural development for all the orphans and vulnerable children in Rwanda.  His goals are to reintegrate the children into everyday family life, and to know they will have the chance to live into old age with peace and dignity.

The "papa" of the orphange is one of two adults living on site.

The “papa” of the orphange is one of two adults living on site.

OVC-Rwanda Orphanage, Kigali, Rwanda,

If you have any means to help, or know someone who can, please contact me at:  info@adambacher.com.

Copyright 2009 Adam Bacher.  All rights reserved.  Absolutely no usage without prior authorization.

 

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