Feb 13, 2019

Our Class of 2022 Arrives at ASYV

Our Class of 2022 arrives at ASYV
Our Class of 2022 arrives at ASYV

The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is thrilled to announce the arrival of our Class of 2022! Joining us from across Rwanda, the 128 young people of our latest Enrichment Year, a special first year unique to the Village, have come to ASYV in the hope that our community can provide them with the education and support they need to build a better life. In this brief report, we would like to share an update on their first few weeks at ASYV, time in which our kids have already begun to dream of a brighter future and build bonds with friends and mentors, bonds that have the potential to last a lifetime.

On December 28th, our latest Enrichment Year passed through the Village’s gates for the very first time. Vincent Kalimba, Village Director, greeted our kids as they assembled at the Edmond J. Safra Community Center, where he opened our welcoming ceremony. A few of our returning students followed Vincent’s remarks with songs and a speech, performances which gave our youngest students the chance to meet the members of our Amahoro singing group and the president of ASYV’s student government. Together, these young leaders welcomed their newest brothers and sisters to the Village, celebrating their arrival and encouraging them to use their time at ASYV to the fullest. Our family mamas concluded the welcoming ceremony by embracing each of our kids, introducing them to their new student families with a hug and a smile. Key to our students’ recovery, these families will give our first-year students the stability and loving care they need to thrive at ASYV.

Once they had settled into their new student families, our kids spent the next couple of weeks acclimating to life in the Village. They learned our Core Values and began studying English and computer literacy. Many of our Enrichment Year students enjoyed learning new vocabulary words through song and dance, as well as speaking and reading exercises. One student, Vanessa, was particularly excited to use English to explore her own academic interests, sharing, “English helps us in our other areas of school…You can’t study in the S4 history class if you can’t write or read about history.” While they were studying synonyms and prefixes, our Enrichment Year kids were also learning how to type. About 85% of our kids had never used a computer before they came to ASYV. Now that they have access to this technology, a new world has opened up to them, a world full of information and abilities increasingly relevant to education and employment in Rwanda.

To conclude their orientation to Village life, our Enrichment Year kids ended their first two weeks at ASYV with a trip to Lake Mugesera. Arriving at the lake at 9 a.m., our kids spent the day playing games and chatting by the lakeside. Each of our student families also had the opportunity to go out on the lake, the first time many of our kids had ever been in a boat. Halfway through the day, our family mamas cooked a celebratory lunch, preparing a hearty meal of fish, rice, and beans, while our Village Director concluded the festivities with a dance party. It was a day to remember for our first-year students and a joyful beginning to their time at ASYV.

Over the weeks that followed, our Enrichment Year students continued to immerse themselves in the Village, seeking out new relationships and new opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery. With the return of our S4, S5, and S6 students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors, in U.S. terms) on January 13th, our Enrichment Year kids began to build relationships with their older brothers and sisters, and by attending our student clubs and initiatives fair on January 23rd, they found exciting new ways to express themselves and advance the ideas and causes they believe in. As their first year with us continues, we cannot wait to see what the 128 members of our Class of 2022 accomplish at ASYV and beyond.

We hope you enjoyed this report on our Enrichment Year’s first few weeks at ASYV. If you would like to learn more about their time in the Village, we invite you to follow the links below to our “Welcome to the Class of 2022” video on YouTube and the “Welcome Back to our Students!” post on our blog. More pictures and information can also be found on our social media pages, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where you can read about activities like Heroes’ Day and an intramural basketball game between our S6 and Enrichment Year students. It is thanks to your steadfast support that our Enrichment Year students have these opportunities, and we could not be more grateful. Murakoze cyane (thank you very much)!

An Enrichment Year family portrait
An Enrichment Year family portrait
A holiday at Lake Mugesera
A holiday at Lake Mugesera
Enrichment Year and S6 students bond through sport
Enrichment Year and S6 students bond through sport

Links:

Nov 15, 2018

Celebrating Graduation at ASYV

The Class of 2018 arrives as one.
The Class of 2018 arrives as one.

On October 11th, the 128 members of ASYV’s Class of 2018 marked their graduation from the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. A celebration of our students and their many accomplishments, graduation gave our kids a chance to reflect on all that they have learned and all that they hope to achieve. With congratulatory speeches delivered by Jean-Claude Nkulikiyimfura, ASYV’s Executive Director, and such notable guests as Patience Mutesi, Country Director for Trademark East Africa, it was a day for our kids to cherish their family at Agahozo-Shalom before taking a step out into a brighter future for themselves and Rwanda.

Our Class of 2018 took the name Imena, the Kinyarwanda word for “bravery,” and we believe that they have earned that name. Our graduates have overcome profound loss and pervasive poverty in pursuit of a better life for themselves and their communities. They have faced tragedy and decided to challenge it, working to acquire the skills and resilience that they will need to have a transformative impact on their country. The 128 graduates of our Class of 2018 are driven, talented, and ready to join their 730 older brothers and sisters in making a meaningful difference, with plans to start their own businesses, attend university, and so much more.

One graduate, in particular, demonstrated her bravery during the event itself. Standing up before an assembled audience of community leaders and international guests, Bella Honorine delivered the Class of 2018’s valedictory speech. She spoke to her fellow graduates, reminding them that, “we came as hopeless children with no dreams to move us forward into the future,” before asking them to “think how far we have come individually and as a class.” She inspired them, describing her brothers and sisters at ASYV as “powerful and intellectual individuals who do honor to this earth,” and she called on them to “heal the world and help others discover new gifts that they never knew they had.” As someone who has traveled their path first hand, Bella Honorine spoke to our students’ lived experience. Where once her future was uncertain, with school fees endangering her education, ASYV gave Bella Honorine the opportunity to thrive. With experience as Miss Core Values of Imena Grade, as a speech competition and debate team winner, and as a minister of education on ASYV’s student government, Bella Honorine took full advantage of everything ASYV had to offer her. Now, with a dream of studying politics and economics in university, Bella Honorine sets the stage for our Class of 2018’s future success.

Following Bella Honorine’s speech, our graduation ceremony concluded with a special performance by ASYV’s Isheja dance troupe and a spectacular show at Village Time. Led by our Class of 2018, Village Time invited each of our graduates to share their talents, celebrating their ASYV family in song and dance. We hope you enjoyed this brief look into our Class of 2018’s graduation ceremony. If you would like to experience our graduates’ sense of transformation, we invite you to follow the link below to watch our “ASYV Transforms 2018” video, which features a poem performed at graduation and interviews with Class of 2018 graduates Ruth and Cyprien, who share what they feel ASYV gave them and how they hope to pay it forward. Thanks to your support, our Class of 2018 has achieved great things, graduating from the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village with the aptitudes and values they will need to lead fulfilling lives as Rwanda’s next generation. From all of us at Agahozo-Shalom, murakoze cyane (thank you very much)!

Bella Honorine delivers her valedictory speech.
Bella Honorine delivers her valedictory speech.
Jean-Claude congratulates a graduate.
Jean-Claude congratulates a graduate.
Bella Honorine's student family gathers together.
Bella Honorine's student family gathers together.

Links:

Aug 16, 2018

Athletics and Art at ASYV

Mahatma Gandhi Family with their coach, Mama Agnes
Mahatma Gandhi Family with their coach, Mama Agnes

Home to more than 500 of Rwanda’s most vulnerable orphaned youth, the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village heals its students by providing them with the skills and loving support they need to imagine a better future. Life Enrichment Applied Programs (LEAP), one of ASYV’s four program areas, helps us to achieve this by encouraging our kids to explore their own unique talents through extracurricular activities and student-run clubs. This summer, our students brought LEAP to life in many exciting ways, including the ASYV Champions League, an intramural sports competition, and an original play performed at the Ubumuntu Arts Festival in the capital city, Kigali!

The ASYV Champions League brought our student families together for a friendly sports competition. With the theme “Together We Can!”, we believed that the Champions League would bring out a spirit of camaraderie and teamwork within our student families. By playing on their family’s team, our kids learned how to work together. The Champions League also gave our kids more quality time with their family mamas, who served as each team’s compassionate and confident coach.

Kicked off on May 11th, the Champions League proved to be an entertaining and engaging experience for our kids. All of our students took part, with some playing and others leading cheers and songs from the sidelines. Basketball, volleyball, and soccer games continued throughout the summer months, with our mamas providing emotional and moral support. After the final round concluded on July 30th, we gathered at the Lily Safra Amphitheater to congratulate the winning teams and MVP’s. Students and mamas had many good things to say about the Champions League, with Mama Asterie commenting that she was pleasantly surprised by her kids’ eagerness to take on leadership roles.

The Ubumuntu Arts Festival offered our kids a similarly enriching opportunity. Running from July 13–15 at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, the Festival is an annual celebration of what it means to be human. This year’s festival invited performers from around the world to share human stories, promote peace and healing from violence, and provide training and mentorship to artists. Pieces included “Love in the Time of Revolution,” an examination of the love story between Nelson and Winnie Mandela during their struggle against Apartheid in South Africa, and “Soul Seekers,” a video anthology of asylum seeker interviews collected by an Iraqi refugee living in Belgium.

Agahozo-Shalom’s students added their own voice to the festivities with an original play named “Gritenity.” Performing on the festival’s opening night, our Isano Isangiwe theater group told the story of Jack, a businessman who has lost his friend and accountant, Zambu, under tragic circumstances. Following Zambu’s death, Jack is alone and afraid that he will never find another employee as honest or trustworthy. What follows is a parable about the importance of honesty in the face of temptation, a story told through the artful combination of theater and dance. By performing one of our core values, integrity, on an international stage, our kids shared not only what they have learned in the Village, but also their own experience with healing.

Together, the ASYV Champions League and Isano Isangiwe theater group speak to the range of opportunities LEAP makes available to our kids. Athletic and artistic talents are embraced in equal measure, with each and every one of our students learning that their passion is worth celebrating. These programs build our students’ sense of self-confidence, healing past traumas while preparing them for life after graduation.

We hope you enjoyed this brief look into our Life Enrichment Applied Programs, a vital resource to our students. If you would like to learn more, we invite you to follow the links below. Murakoze cyane (thank you very much)!

A basketball game in the ASYV Champions League
A basketball game in the ASYV Champions League
Isano Isangiwe performs Gritenity
Isano Isangiwe performs Gritenity
A story of integrity in the face of loss
A story of integrity in the face of loss

Links:

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.