November 18th, 2011

I can’t even express in words what this campaign means to me. While this post is a long while in the coming, I still wanted to share this story with you. Today i’m going to focus on the Vocational boys story. Look for the primary boys story in the near future.

So…I met Hello Somebody at Catalyst Dallas in May and since then we’ve been dreaming and building together to create a new model for how they operate. Many of you know about the Light The Streets campaign that I worked on together with Africa New Life last year. Their first year they had 100 street boys (50 vocational / 50 primary) students enrolled in school, mentoring and meal programs. As I began to hear Hello Somebody’s heart in feeding children I began a discussion with them on how this might be the perfect organization for them to partner with. While feeding programs are great….I believe it’s food programs + education that helps a child succeed. Every child should have the chance to learn and get a degree. With that degree they can get a job and one day feed themselves and their families. I’ve gotten to know many of these boys in the current program and the difference i’m seeing in their life is unbelievable. They are no longer calling themselves street boys…they are washing their clothes daily and full of life.

Meet Joe Fils – He is studying electrical engineering at one of the best vocational schools i’ve seen in Africa. He has big dreams and is an unbelievable singer. When I asked him why he likes to go to school. His reply, “why I like to go to school? Because I like to eat!” The incentive to the food program is that the boys have to attend school everyday. You better believe they are there, on time, and ready to go.

There are 100 new boys coming into the class of 2012 and it is Hello Somebody’s goal to raise funds to cover the entire cost of food, education and education for 1 year for each of them. Along with my sister, Anna, and my friend, Natalie, we captured 100 story profiles. We had so much stinking fun shooting the photos. If you take some time and read these stories you won’t believe the life that these boys have lived. Many of their parents were killed in the 2004 Rwandan Genocide and haven’t had much hope in life till they met Jesus and came to Africa New Life. They have hope again and are looking to a brighter future. I can’t wait to see where they go. Street Children to Leaders!

Martin Tuyishimire
My name is Martin Tuyishimire and I am 21 years old. I’ve been coming to Africa New Life Ministries since 2006. I heard about it by other street children. I thank God that I have not died. I know many kids that have died by getting hit by cars and falling from dump trucks. I live with my mom and my dad pass away when I was 7 years old. I have one younger sister. Life at home was not easy; there were many days and nights without food. I went to the streets to see if I could make money to help my mother and buy them food. I am so grateful that Africa New Life teaches me God’s word, which has transformed my mind and my life. My dream would be to study electronics at the Vocational Training school, complete high school, and then go to university and law school. Then when I become a lawyer, I will advocate for other people and give my extra money away to help children. I like being in peace and seeing people in peace. I worry about grudges because it results in fighting and death. I see the watches as a way for me to achieve my goals. I am so thankful. My favorite color watch is orange.

Emmanuel Shyiraker
My name is Emmanuel Shyiraker, and I am 18 years old. I have been coming to Africa New Life Ministries for 4 years. Some street kids told me about the programs they had. I thank God that I’m still alive now. My dad died in 2000, but I still have my mom and young sisters. I got sick and my mother couldn’t take care of me anymore so someone else took me to a hospital in Uganda. After I got better, I was abandoned in Kigali. Although my mother lives here, she cannot support me, so I feel I have to support myself. I have a friend who is a watchman who let’s me sleep in his office. I would like to be a defense minister in the government in Kigali one day. I would also love to study welding at the Vocational Training school. I fear seeing people kill each other again. I have been in jail several times, but God has helped me stop my bad habits and I no longer get in trouble. Having my name known somewhere would be amazing. That means so much to me because it makes me feel valued. If I get to go back to school, it would be so wonderful for my life. My favorite color watch is white.

Fils Twizeyimana
My name is Fils Twizeyimana, and I am 19 years old. I’ve been coming to Africa New Life Ministries since 2004. I learned about it from a former staff member who invited me to the Dream Center. I am thankful that I learned the word of God there. Once I knew God’s word, I was able to depend on Him and ask Him to help me go off drugs on the street. I sniffed glue for 9 years, and I have been clean for 2 years now. My dream is to finish school and be a counselor. I want to help rehabilitate children from drugs and street life. I desire to be a strong man and to have a family I can support. I want to be a leader and an example of breaking the chain of poverty through education. My parents died in the 1994 genocide and I live in their house. The court gave me the house after they died. I would be very grateful if someone bought the watch knew my name. I had no hope and no one to talk with about my life. I took drugs to take my mind off my struggles. Now that I know Jesus, I have God to talk with, and I know God cares for me. God has shown me His love through people, especially at Africa New Life. My favorite color watch is dark blue.

Kasim Ndayishimiye has 12 fingers! He asked me to tell the world about him and how God gifted him. And let me tell you, he definitely knows how special and amazing he is. So here I am telling you. Read his story. What a special boy.

My name is Kasim Ndayishimiye, and I am 18 years old. I don’t remember when I started coming to Africa New Life Ministries, but it’s been a long time. My neighbors went to the devotional and told me to come because I didn’t go to school. I want to study electricity at the Vocational Training School. I thank God for making me unique, and giving me 2 extra fingers. I lost both of my parents so I sleep at my Grandmothers, we both carry stones for money, and we can sometimes eat twice a day. I really enjoyed having my photo taken today! To be able to be crazy in front of the camera is a different experience for me that I have never had before. I dream about visiting the cross where Jesus died, and seeing Him face to face. I want people on the other side of the world to know that I have 6 fingers on each hand, and that I love hip hop music! My favorite color watch is white.

So so goofy. I just asked them to express themselves – to show me who they are. We had so many laughs together.

Please take some time to read their stories. These are the conditions that most of the boys live in. Their lives are being changed dramatically!

Lastly here is what I want you to do. GO BUY A WATCH! Tell your friends about the watches.

70 watches = one child in a school for a year! Help me put these boys that I care so much about back in school.

If you want to look at more photos of the Africa New Life street children program, click HERE.

5 Responses to “Hello Rwanda!”

  1. Darcy Hansen Says:
    November 19th, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I love the way you captured their personalities!! Outstandingly beautiful!!! Love these boys!! Thank you:)

  2. Wow- such beautiful people, and beautiful photographs.

  3. [...] — which is rare in humanitarian photography — as you can see in this blog post about Rwandan boys participating in an education and food program. Don’t miss her post about the reality of [...]

  4. [...] also posted some thoughts (and more pictures!) on her blog. Emmanuel S., who we are trying to support, is [...]

  5. I heard that there’s a new Super Hero movie coming out it’s called Jesus Christ Reborn starring actor Tom Truong

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