Rwanda Action has worked in the districts of Nyamasheke and Rusizi since 2008. Our offices are based in Kamembe, the main town on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As such, it is a place of transition which attracts a diverse population including some of the most desperate people.
Children are driven onto the streets for a variety of reasons: the death of parents; absent parents due to family conflict, divorce, imprisonment; children born from prostitution; domestic violence; lack of food at home or the means to send children to school and children dropping out of school. Living on the street, children often seek very low paid work and can be forced into begging or prostitution.
In all that we do, we are determined to support those on the margins of society, especially children.
In 2012 we built a centre called "Baho Neza Mwana" ("A Better Life for Children") which provided short-term residential care for street children in a stable, supportive environment with schooling and/or training opportunities. At the same time we set out to identify and support their families so that the children could be reintegrated in their homes. This programme has been remarkably successful with very nearly 90% of the children remaining off the street.
In 2020 the Rwandan authorities decided to phase out residential care for street children so, to be in line with this policy, we are channelling our support for vulnerable families and children through our "Building Communities" programme. Our target is to prevent children being driven onto the street in the first place.
We have opened a new centre at the site called the Rusizi Social Care Centre. It is the base for our outreach work in communities and we are delivering training for parents and key members of the community to improve the care of vulnerable children. Training takes place on weekdays and includes the following:
On Saturdays children from disadvantaged local families are invited to spend time at the centre where they can benefit from a good meal, recreational opportunities, counselling and help with their studies. This will enable us to monitor the progress and well-being of the children and provide family support where it is most needed.
Key Performance Indicators
A reduction in the number of rehabilitated street children returning to the street
A reduction in the number of children driven onto the street in each of the village cells that we support
As we build a new team at the Rusizi Social Care Centre, we are looking forward to working with families in their communities to prevent children having to live on the streets and create opportunities.