You are receiving this Project Report since you are a current supporter of MindLeaps (formerly RDDC) GlobalGiving Program: “Street Scholars – From The Streets to The Classroom”.
There are many names for street children in Kinyarwanda, but today, the public no longer refers to these kids as ‘maibobo’ (an offensive term), but as ‘Rwanda rw’ejo’ – the leading generation of Rwanda’s future.
Two Leaders: Jean de Dieu and Rene
MindLeaps is currently hosting two top dancers in Kigali: Mark and Ashley, of Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal. They are providing special dance training for our local Rwandan teachers - a "train the trainers" workshop. Two of our top students, Jean de Dieu and Rene, have been given the special opportunity to attend this training. It is incredible to watch Jean de Dieu and Rene’s determination to pick up complicated dance steps at the same pace as their teachers. Their eagerness to learn is easily seen as they practice yesterday’s new moves over and over in the early morning hours before class.
These boys are natural leaders outside of the dance studio as well. Jean de Dieu is the brother to Passy, who is now succeeding at Sonrise boarding school (as highlighted in the last report). Jean de Dieu, who is twelve years old, began learning how to read and write for the first time when he joined MindLeaps last year. After dance class, Jean de Dieu, sits and copies letters of the alphabet from any simple book he can find. Just like in dance training, Jean de Dieu is determined to learn how to read and write, so that he can one day go to boarding school like his brother.
Rene, is often found looking after the young students in the program and restoring order in IT, English, and dance classes. Dancer, Ashley, saw that Rene was a natural leader in dance class and she had the opportunity to tell this to Rene’s mother during a visit to his home. Rene is a particular success story with MindLeaps. After attending our program for a year, he decided to leave the streets and return to his mother’s home in order to support his family. As a single mother of six children, life is not easy. Rene is the oldest in the family and works hard to take care of his younger siblings. His mother remarked that she is so thankful for the transformation that MindLeaps helped spark in Rene. As one of our top students, who has already come so far, we hope that Rene will one day be hired to join our team as a dance teacher– a solution that may lift his whole family out of poverty.
With their talent and motivation, we hope Jean de Dieu and Rene will one day teach dance to the next generation of street children. As they grow in self-esteem through dance and IT and continue to harness their leadership skills, there is no doubt that they will become the leaders of Rwanda’s future – rwanda rw’ejo.
Thank you for being a part of the future.
We would be grateful if you also considered sharing this project on Facebook and Twitter.
Warm wishes and many thanks.
RDDC has officially changed its name on GlobalGiving to “MindLeaps”. Same mission – same organization – same page…just a new name to better reflect what we do: use dance and vocational training to develop children’s minds and skills so they can leap forward in life.
Passy and his younger brother Jean di Dieu have been attending the MindLeaps’ program in Rwanda for nearly one year. Unfortunately, they have no father and their mother, a genocide survivor, is HIV-positive. Luckily, both boys are healthy but they have not been able to go to school and gradually became street children in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. They found the MindLeaps Center and started attending the dance class open to out-of-school youth.
Passy quickly developed in our program, showing tremendous curiosity and asking some of the most insightful questions we have heard: “why do I feel like I have more energy after dance class than before?” “What skills do I need to have a job when I grow up?” “How can I get health advice for my mother?”
Within three months, Passy was our top student in the dance program. As you know, the MindLeaps’ dance program develops out-of-school children’s cognitive and non-cognitive skills while teachers grade students’ progress through a data application system. (You can see how Passy’s skill development exceeded the class average in attached graph.)
Having strengthened his learning skills, Passy continued to thrive in our computer training program whereby he learned typing, Internet usage and basic email.
In January, Passy was selected to attend Sonrise Boarding School in Musanze, Rwanda. He is thriving at school – both academically and socially. He is doing well even though his peers are “regular children”. Passy is no longer a street child and his mother is so proud of him.
Jean di Dieu, Passy’s little brother, is now starting to excel in the same way as his older brother. He works diligently in the MindLeaps’ program. Our goal is to get this little boy into boarding school too. In this way, a family damaged by the 1994 Tutsi Genocide can finally recover from the atrocities that left them as innocent victims.
Thank you for giving Passy a chance at life and supporting the ongoing dance and technology programs at the MindLeaps Center in Rwanda. Now let's try to help his little brother!
You are receiving this Project Report since you are a current supporter of the RDDC GlobalGiving Program: “Street Scholars – From The Streets to The Classroom”.
Can street kids code?
RDDC (now “MindLeaps”) started teaching street children basic computer skills three years ago. Children who had never held a pencil before or learned how to write their names were put in front of a laptop. Our Rwandan teachers taught them to identify parts and repeat words like: “double click”, “save as”, and even “algorithm”.
Three years later - with a more developed curriculum and years of field experience - we have some students who are learning to do much more complicated computer tasks, including: email, building websites, and playing games that revolve around the basics of computer programming.
One of our top students, Alphonse, sends me an email every week!
What can street kids do with computer skills?
The tech industry is growing rapidly in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Rwanda is positioning itself to be a leader and wants the entire population’s digital literacy to improve. As such, there is an opportunity for kids like Alphonse to obtain basic jobs in computer/mobile repair, installation of applications and manual testing.
How can we help more kids?
These kids have accomplished so much in their computer classes that now MindLeaps has started to converse with the Ministry of Youth & ICT in Rwanda to determine how our program can serve street youth across the country. There are at least 7,000 street children in the capital city of Kigali, and thousands more in all the rural corners of Rwanda.
In 2015, we will be finalizing an agreement with several partners to help us ensure multiple children can be lifted off the streets through a program that teaches them one of the most important skills today: computer usage.
It’s because of you that we have reached a point where other partners are interested in helping us in Rwanda…Thank you.
We’d also like to share our newest 3-minute video with you:
Please feel free to share our video through your social media and help us spread the good news of street children joining the digital age.
You are receiving this Project Report since you are a current supporter of the RDDC Global Giving Program: “Street Scholars – From The Streets to The Classroom”.
Jean-Paul is #1…
Around this time last year, RDDC had secured support to send one more of our top students to boarding school in Rwanda. All of our students are in need of substantial support since they live on the street and lack life’s basic necessities. Yet, some of our students show themselves to be exceptional in our dance and IT classes, and we are confident that they will thrive if we can just give them the chance to enter the formal schooling system.
Jean-Paul, known as “Mugisha”, was our top student for a long time and he was ready for the chance to go to boarding school when we had a spot. But, another one of our students was falling dangerously ill and there was great concern that he would not make it unless he moved to a better place.
When Mugisha learned about this situation, he came to our Rwandan teachers and said, “Please don’t give me the spot to go to school. The other boy needs to go now. I will wait and hope for a chance in the future.”
It’s because of you that there was another a chance…Thank you.
The other boy went to school last year and is doing exceptional. Mugisha entered school this year and is ranked 1st in his class of 27 students. During his second term, he scored 97% in Mathematics and 88% in English.
Thank you so much for allowing us to reward Mugisha while saving another child in critical need. This was only possible because of your financial support.
We would be grateful if you also share this project on Facebook and Twitter. We have three more students that are ready to go to school in January if we can find the financial support to rescue them from the street.
Pierre Moves From The Street To School
Pierre would like to tell you something: “Murakoze”.
Murakoze means “thank you” in Kinyarwanda. Pierre is going to Sonrise Boarding School in Rwanda because of you. I first met Pierre in 2011 when RDDC formalized our partnership with FidesCo Rwanda and started a permanent program to serve street children in Kigali. Pierre started taking dance classes and our Basic Computer Training in the hopes that he would acquire the learning and vocational skills he needed to stop begging on the street.
You have made his dream come true.
In the attached picture, you can see Pierre’s school report card from the first term in 2014. He now ranks 8th in his class of 32 children with an average of 85%. He has proved that he can be a “regular” student; he is no longer “the beggar” or “the stealer” – He is just Pierre.
Double Your Impact TOMORROW!
On Wednesday (June 25), Microsoft will MATCH any donation made on RDDC’s Global Giving Project to help children like Pierre. This match is only available for 24 hours!
Starting at 12noon EST on Wednesday, make a donation that Microsoft will double:
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