Can you imagine a street child in post-genocide Rwanda sending you an email? RDDC USA is implementing a Basic Computer Skills/IT class for street children in Rwanda who have been forced to live on the street without access to education or technology. These youth will touch computers for the first time, learn the alphabet to type their names, access information, and send emails. Children who spent their days searching for food are learning they have access to the world.
There are no official statistics on the number of street children in Rwanda, but estimates run as high as several thousand. Children are forced onto the street due to poverty, domestic abuse, or parental rejection. On the street, children focus solely on survival: finding food and a place to sleep. Gaining an education and working toward self-improvement are secondary to daily needs and seem unobtainable. Children are illiterate, lack vocational skills, and suffer from a sense of worthlessness.
RDDC IT Centers allow street children to gain vocational skills in an alternative educational environment through a technology-based program. The standardized curriculum includes understanding MS programs, email, and Google searches. Learning these skills builds street children's self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Ultimately, the youth realize their capacity to learn and grow as they build foundational skills in IT, one of today's most useful fields.
Our project will solve the problem of access to education and technology for street children in Rwanda. It will allow 100 youth to have access to a new IT Center while also permitting the top three students to receive stipends for performing simple IT work for RDDC and other NGOs. These stipend positions will demonstrate to other street children how a variety of educational opportunities can lead to employment and the ability to step out of poverty.