SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda on Tuesday 24th September 2019 celebrated 40 years of impact in Rwanda and highlighted its success and desire to keep making Rwanda a better place for children and young people without parental care.
Founded in 1979, SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda has been able to establish children’s villages in four districts of Gasabo, Gicumbi, Nyamagabe, and Kayonza.
Speaking at the celebrations of 40 years of existence in Rwanda, Hon. Amb. Solina Nyirahabimana, the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion commended the good work and service of SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda towards quality care for children and young people.
The Honorable Minister attended the event on behalf of the Patron of SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda, Her Excellency Jeannette Kagame First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda. She commended SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda ‘’I am really grateful to the work done by SOS Children’s Villages in ensuring that children have access to a family and a quality education. It is such a big helping hand to the roles of the government I serve” she noted.
Siddhartha Kaul, the President of SOS Children’s Villages International, who was the main celebrant at the SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda 40 years’ celebration praised the Government of Rwanda for its efforts in seeing that there is peace in the country which will ensure harmony and stability hence reducing the number of vulnerable children”. The President noted that there is a lot that has been done by SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda in providing a loving family to children”.
Siddhartha further noted that ‘’Our main concern is to see that all children have a family. We have been here for 40 years and we were here in the most difficult and darkest times in the history of Rwanda. SOS Children’s Villages International is thankful to the Government of Rwanda for the support and partnership,’’ He awarded ’15 SOS Mothers’ who dedicated their lives to taking care of children without parental care with Rings of Honour in recognition of the good work they did/still doing.
The Board Chairman and Legal Representative of SOS Children’s Village Rwanda, Jean Gakwaya noted that SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda came in at the right time to the plight of many Rwandans. ‘’It should be noted that SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda is one of the Non-Government Organization that never left the country even when Rwanda was going through its darkest moments. SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda served children and gave them hope, safety and respect. We shall keep doing that to ensure that children are in loving families,’’ he said.
At the event, a number of now successful and well to do individuals who are what they are because of SOS Children’s Villages shared their stories on how they became members of the family and how they have been cared for and supported to become responsible citizens. Among, Joseph Munyentora shares his touching story.
‘’I recall I was a young child by then and as you all know the tragic Genocide against Tutsi that befell our country in 1994. I was brought into SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda because I had no family to take care of me. I was integrated into a family that had other children and our mother provided all she could as a parent, exactly as what a responsible and caring mother would provide to her biological children,’’ he says. He says that there was no hope at all for him because as a young child, he had nowhere to go but SOS shone a ray of light upon his life and it enabled him to attend school and he is now a prominent businessman in Kenya.
Clothilde Mukarwego is one of the ‘’SOS Mothers’’ she noted that she began taking care of children without parental care in 1988 up to 2014 when she retired. ‘’I took care of children who have no one to care for them from 1988 up to 2014 and that makes it 26 years. In total, I can say I had over 40 children (boys and girls) and I can confidently say that they really make me proud when I see where they are now,’’ she said. Clothilde says that the secret to taking care of children who have lost parental care is to love them.”
The event was attended by more than one thousand people including the Children’s Villages International Director for East and Southern African Region, Government Officials, Development Partners, the Private Sector, Civil Society Organizations, SOS family and Media Fraternity.
SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda 40 years Anniversary was celebrated under the theme “appreciating today and shaping tomorrow for children and young people.”