Nov 10, 2016

Ishema Grade "Lights Up the World"

On October 20th, we celebrated Ishema Grade's graduation. The fifth Class to graduate from The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, Ishema Grade joins an illustrious group of alumni, now numbering over 600. Thanks to your generosity, every one of our graduates develops a resilient sense of determination and a profound hope for the future. With 335 of our alumni studying at university in Rwanda or abroad, and 83 of our alumni working across Rwanda or serving as interns in the Village, we have every confidence that Ishema Grade will pay it forward in similar ways.

With the understanding that many of our students will never get to enjoy another graduation ceremony, we always do our best to make the event memorable. Following a moment of silence in honor of our late Founder, Anne Heyman, the first speaker of the day stepped up to the podium. Vincent Kalimba, our Village Director, recounted all of the ways Ishema Grade has given back to the community. From building houses to cultivating kitchen gardens, the students of Ishema grade have been eager and effective change-makers. In his closing remarks, Vincent called on our graduates to keep it up as "socially responsible citizens." We have no doubt that they will exceed even our greatest expectations.

During one of the more moving segments of the ceremony, graduates of Ishema Grade then shared their memories and ideas for the future. From a video recounting all of the ways Agahozo-Shalom has made a difference in their lives, to a spoken word performance asking every graduate to work hard to achieve their dreams, our graduates showed that Agahozo-Shalom healed their hearts, and gave them the courage to heal others, too.

Finally, it was Ornella's turn to speak. Valedictorian of Ishema Grade, Founder of Girl Up ASYV, and a four-time National Debate champion, Ornella rose above a neglectful background in the spirit of Agahozo-Shalom. Given the chance to speak to her brothers and sisters of the Village, Ornella praised her peers before asking them to "light up the world with their luminous light." As Ornella said, she and her classmates once suffered in the darkness, but now they have the knowledge, skills, and drive to light up Rwanda and the world.

Thank you for taking the time to read about Ishema Grade's graduation ceremony, and thank you again for your generosity. None of this would have been possible without you.

Ornella
Ornella
Aug 10, 2016

Students of The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village

Pascal-Claudien
Pascal-Claudien

The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is home to 524 students, all of whom have developed some really remarkable talents during their time in the Village. Pascal-Claudien, also known as N-Pac, is one such student. A member of the current Senior 5 Class, or 11th Grade, Pascal-Claudien loves visual art, and he's known for spending nearly all of his free time sketching, drawing, and painting. In this report, we have decided to share with you a bit more about students like Pascal-Claudien, students whose health and happiness are possible because of your generosity. We hope you enjoy getting to know them.

Pascal-Claudien credits his mother with his love of art. After she passed away, Pascal-Claudien says that he "wanted to discover the reason why it was such a passion of hers." Thanks to the Village's art room and encouraging instructors, Pascal-Claudien indicates that coming to the Village allowed him to do just that. He says that he has "flourished as an artist," learning to do "exciting things with [his] artwork - things [he] could never have dreamed of before." He adds that in the Village, the artistic process is therapeutic, and that it gives him hope for the future. Now, Pascal-Claudien plans to study art at university, and we have every confidence that he will do amazing things.

Another accomplished Senior 5 student is Aimable. While Pascal-Claudien has cultivated a talent for art, Aimable has developed an equally impressive penchant for sport. Football had always been one of Aimable's great loves, so he immediately tried to join the football team when he arrived in the Village. He attended every training session and soon earned a place on the field. Aimable indicates that the Village "helped [him] to improve...because before arriving here [he] had to play with poor equipment," adding that playing on the Village's team taught him "the importance of respect and integrity," and gave him confidence. Now, having led his team to victory in the district cup, Captain Aimable is showing no signs of slowing down.

Finally, we would like to introduce Germaine. A Senior 5 student, Germaine has a strong personal fascination with entrepreneurship. When Principal Mujyeneza informed his students of a national essay writing competition, Germaine decided right away that she would enter an essay entitled, "The Power of Entrepreneurship Education in Rwanda." The Village chose her essay to represent the school, and she won the national competition! Germaine describes her winning essay as her "greatest achievement" at the Village, something accomplished thanks to her own hard work and the "access we have to various opportunities in the Village."

Thank you for taking the time to learn just a bit about some of our village's students. Of course, this was a rather brief look into the lives of only a few. Thanks to your support, the Village has already been able to help nearly 1,100 of such bright young people, and we are eager to continue our work in the months and years ahead. These young people truly are the future of Rwanda, and it is due to your continuing compassion that the Village is able to help them reach their full potential. Once again, murakoze cyane (Thank you very much)!

A Painting by Pascal-Claudien
A Painting by Pascal-Claudien
Aimable
Aimable
Germaine
Germaine

Links:

May 13, 2016

Agahozo-Shalom Welcomes New Village Director and Celebrates Exam Success

Vincent Kalimba, Village Director
Vincent Kalimba, Village Director

Following Jean-Claude Nkulikiyimfura's appointment to the position of Executive Director, a new Village Director was needed. Vincent Kalimba was chosen after an exhaustive search, and we're very excited to have him on board. Professionally and personally qualified, Mr. Kalimba is the perfect replacement for Jean-Claude.

Himself a returned refugee, Mr. Kalimba identifies strongly with our students. Like so many of them, Mr. Kalimba suffered severe hardships in his childhood, and like so many of them, he found a better future through education and service. After attending the Lycee de Kigali and the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, Mr. Kalimba enjoyed a noteworthy career in youth empowerment.

When asked how his career eventually led him to Agahozo-Shalom, Mr. Kalimba answered that he could relate to our students, and that he was "extremely impressed" when he visited last year. Since he has come to work for Agahozo-Shalom, Mr. Kalimba's view of the Village has only improved, asserting that "it is absolutely true that ASYV is more than just a village. It is a home, a family for many." With such strength of conviction, we believe that Mr. Kalimba will be a great help to Agahozo-Shalom, now and in the future.

In the coming months and years, Mr. Kalimba hopes to accomplish a great deal, with goals ranging from the development of partnerships with relevant institutions to instilling a culture of entrepeneurship among students and alumni. With his dedication, and your continued support, we have no doubt that Mr. Kalimba and the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village will succeed.

 

In other news from Agahozo-Shalom, we received confirmation in February that our Ingenzi grade students had passed their national exams with flying colors.

Following four years of hard work, combined with the high-quality education system offered here in the Village, we are proud to announce that 120 of our 122 students passed! Furthermore, 83% of them passed in two or more subjects, meaning they are now eligible for scholarships at any university in Rwanda.

Before arriving in the Village, many of our students lacked the education, motivation, and confidence required to achieve the outstanding results we've seen. Liquidnet Family High School principal, Bonaventura Mujeneza remarked, "One of the main factors behind the academic success of ASYV students is their background. ASYV admits students based upon their vulnerability rather than academic competence...The students embrace all the opportunities available to them and develop a positive spirit of competition, which in the end culminates into their success."

We would like to give special congratulations to the following students:

  • Grace, who scored 100% in her exams and is ranked 1st in Rwanda for Economics and 7th for Arts
  • Johnson Clever, who scored 100% in his exams and is ranked 6th in Rwanda for the MCP (Math, Computer, Physics) combination.
  • Christian, who is ranked 9th in Rwanda for Economics.

From all of us at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, thank you again for your continued support. Without you, our success would not be possible.

Liquidnet Family High School
Liquidnet Family High School
Grace
Grace
Johnson Clever
Johnson Clever
Christian
Christian

Links:

 
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