Thanks to the generosity of several supporters of Prison Fellowship Rwanda’s program for street children, 15 young adults (12 boys and 3 girls) who have spent the majority of their lives living in extreme poverty on the streets of Kigali spent the morning of October 4, 2010 celebrating their send-off to vocational school. Due to the demands they faced on the streets, they were forced to drop out of school very early – most commonly during their primary school years. Prison Fellowship has served these children, ranging in age from 16 to 21 years of age, for 3 years.
Most of these children were orphaned after losing both of their parents during the Rwandan genocide in 1994; others live at home in extreme poverty with one parent and have been forced to fend for themselves on the streets. PFR loaded 15 mattresses onto a truck and the children, bathed and given fresh new clothes, piled into a van cheering and saying, “Bye, streets!” as they were transported about 2 hours outside of Kigali to Amizero Training Centre.
School staff greeted the children warmly, many photos were taken, enthusiastic words were exchanged, and the children began to settle into their dormitories. At the vocational school, these children will learn valuable skills that will build stable and successful futures. They can choose to participate in training for a wide variety of skill sets, including: tailoring, cloth-cutting, carpentry, construction, welding, fabrication, hotel operations, or livestock and crop management.
Founded in 2003 by the umbrella not-for-profit organization Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation Initiative (RWARRI), the Amerizo Training Centre (ATC) seeks to help Rwandans combat the widespread poverty that has ensued from the loss of property and dignity spurred on by the genocide. To accomplish this goal, ATC not only offers hands-on skills training, but also by ensures that the vocations of interest will rebuild and rehabilitate the nation. Houses can be rebuilt, farmland can be renewed, and the market economy can be restored.
The young men and women will spend 6 months at ATC and will be in contact with PFR throughout their experience. After training, they will enter the work force with a greater sense of self-worth, useful skills, and new knowledge to contribute to Rwanda’s social and economic progress.
Currently, PF Rwanda is working to grow its programs for street children. As of now, street children of many ages come to the PFR office three times per week, where they receive hot meals, baths, bible teachings, counseling, and where they can participate in activities such as basketball. PFR’s long-term vision is to create a home for these children, where they can build a sense of family, attend school, and hear about God’s love for them on a daily basis.
Areas of need:
>Prayer for the endurance, development, and growth of the street children program
· The construction and staffing of a new home and school to serve street children throughout Rwanda
· Balanced meals
· Materials for bible teachings and counseling
· Sports/outdoor activities
· Water and soap for baths
You can find out more about the street children’s program online at:
To learn more and participate in PF Rwanda's initiatives, join the PF Rwanda Facebook Group.
To get updates, view photos, and keep in touch with Rwandan street children, join "Prison Fellowship Rwanda's Forum for Street Children & Youth," a Facebook group dedicated specifically to PF Rwanda's programs for these young people.