Street children in Kigali get new lease of life

Friday March 6 2015

By ANDREW ISRAEL KAZIBWE, RT Special Correspondent

In November last year, two exhibitions were staged in Kigali, one of them at Goethe Institut in Kiyovu, showcasing photos printed on big canvasses and aluminium boards. The works were done by rehabilitated street children.

Kagugu sector, in Gasabo district houses the premises of Root Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, which was three years ago founded by a group of young Rwandans to rehabilitate street children.

According to 27-year-old Patrick Kiruhura, one of the founders of the organisation, it all started with a short film — Nzitukuze in 2010.

His experience while working on the film motivated him.

“This film was key to finding solutions to problems that street children are facing,” he said.

This forced him to put on hold his studies to start a charity organisation.

He later convinced his two friends — Freddy Kagabo and Bienveu Muragwa — to join the organisation. They began by seeking ideas from village leaders and parents on what to do. Later, they were given space at the sector were they built their work station.

“Over 120 children have been taken off the streets of Kigali. Forty-six of them have been taken to schools,” Mr Kiruhura said.

Mr Kiruhura said this has been made possible through partnership with a few individuals who have volunteered to take the children to school.

“We have not managed to take most of these children to school since this requires more financial resources,” he said.

Through programmes like Murumuna Wanjye and My Talent, among others, the children are brought together as family and engaged in various productive initiatives.

For instance, on weekends they are assembled in clubs where they participate in various activities like dance, drama, art and crafts, photography and soccer games.

Last year, Marie Köhler, a young German photographer was invited and through her project, “Make a photo yourself,” which s reflects Rwanda’s image 20 years after genocide.