Changing Family Histories
AFJHAR supports Journey House Actions Rwanda (JHA) in transforming the lives of children and families in Gashora, Rwanda. Here are some of their stories.
Abdoul, our 14 year old visionary!
Abdoul has lived at JHA for the last two years. He was tossed out of his family at age 7, when his step dad announced he was now old enough to look after himself. He lived on the streets of Kigali for 4 years until he was taken in by a local organization and sent to school. He moved to JHA when the JHA leadership team opened their home to beneficiaries, 2 years ago.
This kind, quiet young man (mature beyond his years ) has a calm elegance about him. His soft spoken demeanor and his gentle way of being belies his difficult childhood.
During the COVID pandemic, Abdoul was upset that many children and families did not have enough food and depended on JHA to support their nutritional needs. The JHA team worked hard on its newly acquired farm to add fresh greens, beets and onions to the bags of rice and porridge they were distributing. Abdoul loves working with the soil and enjoys farming. He asked JHA to give him some of the land JHA had purchased. He wants to feed 500 families!. Together with some friends, he has already started clearing the land. He has asked for support to accomplish his goal by making funds available to purchase a water pump, some basic tools and a variety of seeds.
Iradukunda Jean Marie Vianney (The Ben)
The Ben is one of the youngest children living at Journey House Actions Rwanda (JHA). He and his brother Joshua lived alone in a house because their single mother had abandoned them. They slept on the streets all around Gashora. The Ben said that sometimes he and his brother would fight at midnight because they had no food.
He is called The Ben because when he was first seen by Robina, a JHA staff member, he was dancing to a song written by The Ben (Benjamin Mugisha), a Rwandan singer songwriter. When Rogers Kimuli, the Executive Director at JHA, heard about their story he went to see where the boys lived and it wasn’t good news. The Ben now lives with Rogers.
Rogers Kimuli said “The Ben lives with us now, specifically in my home. He is a BIG reason why I love what we do. I look at him and see myself.”
The Ben and Joshua are now enrolled in the JHA Child Sponsorship Program. These amazing young men are going to school at JHA’s Journey of Success Center and are already speaking some English. The boys are also enrolled in the JHA nutrition program. Their distended stomachs, because they were malnourished, are already starting to come down. They are doing much better and getting help at a local nutritional clinic.
“My parents were very poor and unable to support me, so they separated. As a result, I ended up homeless on the streets. I spent about 10 years on the streets.
One fateful day, I met a gentleman name Papi and he introduced me to Journey House Actions Rwanda. On getting there I was taught how to work. Before then, I was a spoiled kid, a petty thief stealing from neighbors in the neighborhood. Journey House Actions taught me how to work hard. Because of love, Journey House saved me from the streets. They bought us goats and I am the one in charge of them.
Thank you Journey House Actions Rwanda for taking us from the streets”
“I am 16 years old. I have only known my mother. I do not have a father. A long time ago when I was a child, I used to love tailoring and things to do with fashion designing. At that time, I didn’t have the ability to achieve that dream of being a tailor. It was just impossible for me.
I used to do cleaning work and some people would laugh at me that I would not get anywhere in life. But I am glad today that what they wished for never came to pass. I had a bad life. I was always unhappy and not fitting in with other kids. I was unhappy because I had never seen my mother and father together.
I thank Journey House Actions Rwanda for taking good care of me. I thank Mr. Rogers Kimuli for his concern for me. I was not fine then, but he saw me and decided to help me for free. Now I am a fashion designer & tailor with my own sewing machine. I am fine.”
“I am 17 years old. I used to live a really bad life with nobody showing any mercy or extending a helping hand. I used to not believe that someone can help another out of mercy. I was homeless with no food to eat and no school materials. It was hard for me to get enough to eat. I would get food from the trash cans, without minding the flies and dirt. That was my life then.
2019 was the year I came to find Journey House Actions Rwanda. They helped me a lot. They taught me how to use a computer for free. They taught me the English language. They taught me love.
What I can advise the youth is despite the fact that they are living in bad situations and having tough times they should not opt out and abuse drugs as the solution or living dangerous lifestyles because no one knows his or her tomorrow.
I work at Journey House Actions Rwanda as a volunteer. Let’s help develop the youth in this journey. Thank You. “
“I am 19 years old. I live in Gashora and am a Secondary School student. I was born in Nyamata and later we moved to Musanze. Life was good then because I was still living with both of my parents. As you know, life is unpredictable and the good live never lasted. My father walked out on us and we had to move to live with my grandparents from my mother’s side just to survive. But on getting there life became difficult. I dropped out of school. Imagine, I was just a boy of 15 years working in a bar. I started smoking weed and drinking alcohol.
No one knows God’s plan for a person. In 2018 I found Journey House Actions Rwanda. I approached them and told them my story and how I dropped out of school and everything else about my parents’ situation. They listened to me and welcomed me in. First, I learned how to love others. Before I had no love. I was violent and always getting in fights. Second, I learned how to respect others. I was undisciplined and never listened to anybody and disrespected parents. I learned how to work.
Before, I was a petty thief, stealing other people’s phones from bars. If someone left a phone charging at home, I would take it. Now, I am the one charging phones for others, making sure they are safe. I do this because of what Journey House Actions Rwanda did for me. Such a person can learn from my past mistakes. I can show others that they too can change their lives like I did.
It was a dream for me to sit in front of a laptop and be able to use it but now I am able to use it for free. Journey House came as a solution for the Gashora community by teaching the community how to have a balanced diet and teaching them how to set up a kitchen, all this to improve the lives of the children in Gashora. “
“I am a resident here in Gashora. I work in a cooperative called COVAGA. Here we weave baskets and make earrings, hand bands and lots of other items we create. We also make hats and sandals. The baskets we weave help provide health insurance for our kids. We are able to provide food and clothing for the children and their school fees.
We have a foundation here in Gashora (Journey House Actions Rwanda) that helps us with our children so that we are able to focus on our work. There is a lot that weaving baskets does for us in our day to day lives. We are able to dress well and find food and the list is endless.”
Angel is one of the new young ladies enrolled in our THRIVE workforce development program, which is focused on women development…mostly school drop outs and and teenage age mother emancipation.
She is enrolled in the tailoring program.
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