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Your location>Home>Publications>PeaceWays>Spring 2012

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Children of Peace (CoP)

The Children of Peace program for local orphans was an integral part of the original concept, the idea being that orphans could receive vocational training at Bududa Vocational Institute free of charge. Some one hundred and sixty orphans attend the school from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday, where they receive supplementary schooling and two meals. They are also monitored for medical and home problems and given school supplies, school uniforms, soap and Vaseline. Most importantly, the program pays for the children’s lunches at public school during the week plus school fees and exam costs when necessary. Most of these children have Western sponsors, who contribute toward meeting the orphans’ expenses. The children thus know there is a far-off person who cares. Contact is maintained through the exchange of letters, photographs and drawings. The hope is that the extra schooling and care will improve the children’s academic results, which in turn will provide higher possibilities for them in the future.

A new counseling initiative for all CoP students takes place one afternoon a week. The Girls’ Club is a new method of peer sharing started in 2011 by Sabia Rigby, an American Peace Corps volunteer assigned to this program. Every Wednesday afternoon children climb up the red clay hill to the guesthouse for sugary tea with an “escort,” as they say in Uganda, of local donuts and an informal chat with teachers, interns or volunteers aimed to impart elementary concepts of hygiene and increase their self-confidence. Children are generally subservient in Ugandan culture. To greet an adult they bow, and they speak to adults in soft shy voices. This is particularly true of girls. By boosting the self-esteem of girls, the Club hopes to increase their chances of completing their education without falling into the familiar trap of teenage pregnancy, unwanted relationships, and dependency on men. The key message of the Club is that girls have every reason to feel good about themselves and to be capable of saying “No”. Their future is in their own hands, and it depends on pursuing their studies. The boys’ counseling session taking place on Tuesday afternoons focuses on personal hygiene, sexual safety and HIV prevention.

Examples of accomplishments are Children of Peace orphans whose sponsors support them through higher education. I could mention Tsapse Mark, now at university, and Nakuti Madina, a proud trainee nurse. Children treated for serious medical conditions with funds from the pooled sponsorship money, who would otherwise have continued to suffer, including little Barbara who was diagnosed with epilepsy and Ivan who turned up seriously malnourished. Sheila Havard

Rwanda Scholarship Program
With the help of Laura Shipler Chico, the former AGLI volunteer to Rwanda, the Rwanda Sponsorship Program was created in 2006. The objective of the program was to help different vulnerable children such as the orphans of war, HIV/AIDS, and children from families which are very poor in the community to finish secondary school. Since the program started, more than fifteen children have graduated from high school. Some got jobs and can now support themselves and their families. Others were able to continue for further studies. Since 2007, the program has been organizing an annual retreat for the students. The retreat takes place before the students start a new academic year. Currently, the program has 14 students; one at university, 12 at high school, and one at primary school.

Our goals for the future are to increase the number of students to 25, and find a volunteer to help us with different activities like visiting children at school, organizing the children’s annual retreat, etc. Theoneste Bizimana

Scholarship student’s letter to his sponsor:

Dear my sponsor,

I greet you and your family in the name of Jesus. I write this letter to thank you for everything you have done for me by assisting me with school fees. This time I have finished my high school studies in General Mechanics and I hope that soon I may continue the university studies.
In Rwanda, we focus mainly on theories than practice due to limited materials. So this is hard to the students like us where theoretically we are full of knowledge but practically we are empty.

I don’t know how to thank you for your assistance. Thank you for helping me getting this opportunity to study. I had no hope to study again because my family is very poor and my dad who was the only one to support me and the whole family had passed away.

I would like to study university though it’s difficult here. I’ve got 70.68% which is a high grade in our country but unfortunately, the government scholarship in General Mechanics is very limited and if granted, it may be granted to less than five students in the country. But I will try my best to see if I can be among these ones who can get it.

I really thank you very much and as I can’t get anything to pay back, I wish you all divine blessings. I hope one day I will meet you and we will share more stories.

May blessings be with you and your family.

Faithfully yours,
Jean Pierre