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The street was once his home. His eyes tear up when he recalls that time of his life, and the struggles he is still trying to overcome.
MUVUNYI Steven was 6 when he lost his mother in 2000 and later his father in 2005, and his happy childhood was destroyed forever.
Muvunyi at his place of work
Steven dropped out of school because his grandmother who adopted him wasn’t able to raise his school fees. When he couldn’t take anymore, all discouraged, frustrated and hopeless Steve ran away and went to the street. He had hopes of getting a job.
“Unfortunately, I found myself in a very hash life style hence started abusing drugs, stealing to survive, and had so much anger within me because I felt nobody cared.” Steven says.
RUZINDANA Egide the founder and Exective Director says that after being on the street for more than 6 years that’s when he met him.
Ruzindana busy at work
“I first tried to befriend him, make him feel safe, gain his trust through playing football with other children I had gotten off the street. i took him to the LfHM center and later joined school, since he had dropped out of school.”
Steven says “My dream was to study mechanics and fix people’s car. When I got the opportunity I went to study automobile-mechanics for one year”.
Today, Steven is a normal young person and a proud mechanic, working with Victoria Motor Kigali.
He believes he has started a journey that will transform his life.
Steven rents his own house and is able to provide for himself and his family.
He has been able to buy two plots of land and a motorcycle that operates as taxi moto supplementing on his earnings.
His dream is to own a car repair company (garage).
He is thankful to LfHM and in particular to Egide who not only was able to get him off the street but his other colleagues too who have been rehabilitated and integrated to their families while others able to get jobs having finished vocational trainings in different skills and others discovering their talents.
People like to identify themselves with several passions and for 23 year old BUGINGO Gilbert another beneficiary is no exception.
Bugingo attending to one of his clients.
When you meet this passionate simple young man, you cannot believe that he once leaved on the streets.
Bugingo say his life wasn’t all that easy before he met Egide, “I had a very difficult time in my childhood, I stayed with my relatives on the side of my mom of whom I had never known till I was eight years old.”
At the age of 12 years, he dropped out of school then primary three as he felt uncomfortable studying and moved to Kigali.
“Life wasn’t easy on the streets of Kigali, I used to sleep on the verandahs of shops and water tunnels, it was a hopeless lifestyle and that is where one of my colleague who had been saved off the street through LFHM approached me and told me about Egide, he managed to convince me go with him that was in 2009.” he said
Egide enrolled him back to school for primary four but still he wasn’t contented with school for he wanted to do a vocational course.
“I drop out again and ran away from LFHM not that they mistreated me but because I felt I wanted to start earning and being independent ,so I decided to do some domestic work for some people in 2017, however that didn’t also go well, I approached Egide again but, this time I told him frankly that I felt I wanted to do a course from TVET and he agreed to take me there that I was able to do a course in hair dressing for 1 year (2018) as that is what I felt studying” he says with a cheerful smile.
He has been able to find a job and is saving money for he wants to start his own salon.
Besides his normal routine at the saloon, Bugingo is musically talented for he plays the piano and guitar the skills he acquired at LFHM, he sings for his youth choir and hopefully to produce his songs and become a great artist, he also hopes of learning other languages so as to interact well with his customers.
“I thank God that I was able to meet Egide, and honestly I must say that I truly respect and love him. We call him daddy for what he has done for us, mean my other colleagues for a few can do it and whole heartedly.” He said.
‘Love For Hope Ministry’ has been able to support over 300 underprivileged children, especially those from families living under extreme poverty.
They provide them with an education, instill a reading culture and help nurture their talents, for example, in art and crafts, football, singing and dancing among others.
Ruzindana says, the broad aim continues to be fulfilled by identifying and developing the youth’s talents and teaching them how to use these talents and skills for their own benefits, for their families’ benefits and for that of the society at large.
“Children have a right to a safe and happy home. Home restoration is the best intervention for separated and runaway children. We reunite children back into their families and continue to do a follow-up to prevent relapse.” Said Ruzindana.
Love for hope has worked with separated and runaway children since 2008.
These children are affected by issues back home such as poverty, domestic violence while some have parents who are irresponsible.
Ruzindana talking to the kids during one of the sporting sessions.
Apart from rehabilitating and holistically educating the kids, one of their main objectives has always been to reunite the street children with their families and society.
Over the years Love For Hope Ministry has collaborated with other institutions and partners to achieve its objectives.
Kids displaying some of the paintings that they have been able work on
Love for hope comes in to support the government in its various programs and policies such as the Integrated Child Rights Policy (ICRP) which comprises of seven thematic areas.
These include Identity and Nationality, Family and Alternative care, Survival, Health and Standards of living, Education, Protection, Justice and Child Participation and in the implementation of the Child Care Reform through programs such as Tubarerere Mu Muryango (TMM), targeting orphaned, vulnerable children and adolescents, reintegrating them into families and organized homes, as well as supporting them with taking up income generating activities among many other activities.